Virgil Abloh, 41-year-old, Louis Vuitton artistic director, dies of cancer


Virgil Abloh, 41-year-old, Louis Vuitton artistic director, dies of cancer

Virgil Abloh, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, died aged 41-year-old, after a two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer.

Abloh’s death was announced in a statement by the fashion and luxury house’s French owners, LVMH, who revealed that he had been “battling privately” against cancer for several years.

The first black American creative director of a top French fashion house, Virgil Abloh, before his death, redefined fashion by bringing streetwear such as hoodies and sneakers to the catwalk.

Founder of his own brand, Off-White, Abloh was a prolific collaborator with outside brands from Nike to Evian.

His death sent shockwaves across the globe, and tributes poured in from other celebrities, sportspeople and rival design houses.

In a statement, LVMH chief executive Bernard Arnault said, “We are all shocked by this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, but also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”

“The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend,” he continued in the statement posted on LVMH’s Twitter account.

Abloh was chosen to be Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection in 2018. Earlier this year, LVMH announced it was taking a majority stake in Abloh’s luxury streetwear label Off-White. LVMH took a 60-per cent stake in Off-White, and Abloh retained 40 per cent.

Through his work at Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh addressed environmental and social issues. In fact, just recently, he pushed anti-racist and anti-homophobia messages at his January show in Paris.

He also revealed earlier this year that he planned to use his partnership with LVMH “to expand opportunities for diverse individuals and foster greater equity and inclusion in the industries we serve”.

Kim Jones, the artistic director of menswear at the French fashion house, Dior, said: “So sad to hear about the passing of dear Virgil, one of the kindest people you could ever meet.”

Sending their condolences, rival Italian luxury fashion house, Gucci, hailed Abloh as an “immense inspiration to us all both as a designer and as a person.”

“He will be deeply missed though his vision will live on through the trails that he blazed throughout his career,” Gucci wrote on its Twitter account.

Described as the king of luxury streetwear, Abloh, in a few years, managed to establish himself as one of the most sought-after designers in the world.

His trademark style reflected the street culture, with sneakers and sweatshirts and an easily recognisable logo made of oblique black and white bands. Abloh has since then enjoyed successful collaborations with the likes of Nike, Jimmy Choo and Moncler.

In 2012, Abloh created his first label, Pyrex Vision and one year after, Off-White was born, a luxury streetwear brand. Off-White won a following through its eye-catching branding before evolving towards more “couture” creations.

Expressing his grief, Abloh’s long-time friend and collaborator, Kanye West dedicated his weekly gathering “Sunday Service” to Abloh, with a live-streamed choir rendition of Adele’s new hit “Easy On Me”.

Canadian rapper, Drake, in his tribute, thanked Abloh “for everything” in an Instagram post. “Love you eternally brother,” he wrote.

US singer, Pharrell Williams, shared on his Instagram, “Virgil, you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius; your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live forever.”

“Sending love and light to your wife, children, family… you’re with the Master now, shine.”

British actor, Idris Elba also tweeted, “Too soon, Virgil. You will be missed from this world man”.

Virgil Abloh, 41-year-old, Louis Vuitton artistic director, dies of cancer


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