Virgil Abloh’s world
Virgil Abloh’s sixth men’s collection for Louis Vuitton, called “Ebonics”, carries with it both poetry and an awareness of an African-American identity. The designer died on 28 November 2021 after a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer. Tribute. Text: Isabelle Cerboneschi. Make-up: Dior backstage. Model: William Ernult @elitemodelworld. Photo & Style: Buonomo & Cometti.
We have just learned of the death of Virgil Abloh, which occurred on Sunday 28 November 2021, after a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer. Let this article, posted on the eve of his passing, be a pre-posthumous tribute.
When looking at the Louis Vuitton Fall-Winter 2021 men’s collection, it is important to remember that it was presented on January 21, 2021, one day after the inauguration of Joseph R. Biden as President of the United States. And eight months after the death of George Floyd, the African-American man whose murder by a police officer in Minneapolis was filmed and went viral, shocking the world.
We must remember this, because the sixth collection created by Virgil Abloh, who has been designing Louis Vuitton’s men’s collections since March 2018, is called “Ebonics”. It carries with it both the poetry and the awareness of an African-American identity. But not only that.
The 41-year-old Ghanaian designer had more to say. This collection evokes some of the crises that humanity has been facing since 2020. The question of travel in particular, which is no longer an issue in times of confinement, is evoked with leather goods in the shape of an aeroplane or potato sacks. It is also a question of the appropriation by brands of the culture and crafts of certain countries, in a subtle way.
If Virgil Abloh questioned the relevance of creating new clothes for the winter season, as artistic director of a house like Louis Vuitton, he couldn’t afford to express it directly. Instead, he talked about the death of Streetwear in the British magazine Dazed in December 2019, one month before his show: “I would definitely say it’s gonna die, you know? Like, its time will be up. In my mind, how many more t-shirts can we own, how many more hoodies, how many sneakers?” He praised also vintage clothes, also encouraging shopping in one’s wardrobe: “I think that fashion is gonna go away from buying a boxfresh something; it’ll be like, hey I’m gonna go into my archive.”
That didn’t stop him from designing his most beautiful collection since joining Louis Vuitton. The most autobiographical too. It is populated by silhouettes pushed to the extreme, sublime long coats, tailored suits with a twist, elegant African drapes, XXL felt hats. Virgil Abloh entrusted the styling of his show to the artistic director Ibrahim Kamara from Sierra Leone, and he did well. The result was a show, a beautiful show where man seeks – and finds? – his place.
Model: William Ernult @elitemodelworld instagram william_.e
This article was modified on 28 November 2021.