Is Virgil Abloh Karl Lagerfeld for millennials?
For Spring 2022, Virgil Abloh once more partnered with stylist and Dazed's editor-in-chief Ibrahim Kamara. And their fashion images are yielding equally powerful comparisons.
As Abloh said to Vogue:
“I try to create the world as I would like to see it in real life. Having something that’s pop culture and fashion, that’s an education and maybe opens minds. To me, that’s the North Star.”
Well, he's really opening minds and getting attention.
We already told you about the collection called AMEN here, with its samurai and Black Panther references, new Nikes, and deep dives into subcultures. These are all tied together with impeccable leather shoes and travel bags and premium leather sneakers.
It's an impressive mix that honors the house's history and tradition of impeccable leather goods while revering black culture and creating truly innovative silhouettes for the season.
Now, he showcased it in a new creative collab editorial with director Caleb Femi and Creative Agency BeGOOD Studios, also styled by Kamara.
This type of work is what makes the founder of Off-White the kind of fashion figure that seems to demand comparison.
The Guardian already declared him as “the Andy Warhol for our times” and L'Officiel's global CCO Stefano Tonchi called him “Jeff Koons,” but one comparison got the strongest reactions: Abloh is the Karl Lagerfeld of the millennial generation.
Michael Burke, the chief executive of Louis Vuitton, was the one who said it. He hired Abloh in 2018 and previously, as chief executive of Fendi, he worked with Lagerfeld. Burke supports it by saying that Abloh is digital, like Karl. Cross-generational, like Karl. Hard-working, like Karl. Intelligent, like Karl.
But to pretty much everyone else in fashion, it’s a blasphemous statement.
There are also the obvious biography differences, one comes from the couture tradition, and the other built his career on streetwear. One saw himself as the caretaker of artistic heritage (under Lagerfeld, Chanel acquired the specialty ateliers of embroiderers, hat makers, and cashmere spinners in order to protect them), while the other has a keen awareness of himself as a harbinger of cultural change and breaker of boundaries.
Virgil Abloh is one of the rare black creative directors of a French heritage house, which makes his position particularly freighted and unusual. And yet in many ways, they have met in the middle.
In addition, recently, the most powerful luxury goods conglomerate in the world has announced that it's giving him a seat among them. LVMH is becoming a majority investor in Off-White, the high-end streetwear brand founded by Abloh in 2013.
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Read more about Virgil Abloh here.