Absolutely tragic news broke on Sunday that Virgil Abloh, the 41 year-old fashion designer behind Off-White, died of cardiac angiosarcoma. Abloh was a true trailblazer; beyond the success of his own line and his many collaborations, in 2018 he became the first Black artistic director at Louis Vuitton, and Vogue’s timeline of his too-short life is full of accomplishments and accolades (did you know he also had a master’s degree in architecture?). Abloh should have had decades of life, creative and otherwise, ahead of him. It’s a shocking, terrible loss.

From The Cut’s obituary:

Abloh, a first-generation Ghanian American who had been the creative director to his friend and collaborator Kanye West, was that rare thing in fashion: a name-brand designer, whose influence was felt outside of fashion’s usual self-selected niches, a veritable pop-culture icon. Some of this was due to his designs, whose flourishes — his trademark Off-White™ logo; his winky use of quotation marks splattered on clothes, shoes, and accessories; the hazard-yellow band liberally applied to handbags and underwear alike — made them instantly recognizable. But it owed just as much to his insistence on remaining culturally omnivorous: DJ-ing, curating, collaborating (with Nike, with Takashi Murakami, with Levi’s, with Ikea), and generally refusing to be limited to the usual avenues of luxury fashion. He was not only the rare American to succeed at a major European house, but even rarer, a Black designer in a still predominantly white milieu.

I also recommend the Washington Post’s obituary, which is wide-ranging and interesting, and, of course, the announcement on Abloh’s Instagram is extremely touching:


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The Cut also republished a lengthy profile of Abloh from 2017 which is fascinating, and thoughtful, and Doreen St. Félix’s 2019 profile in The New Yorker is a must-read.  Robin Givhan’s piece is, of course, beautifully done.

LVMH had just purchased a 60% share in Off-White in July, and knowing that Abloh probably was aware that his time was waning —  the prognosis for cardiac angiosarcoma is generally very grim — gives new weight to his statement at the time to the New York Times that “he hopes the deal will ensure that Off-White will be ‘on historic corners all over the world for years to come.'” It’s hard not to imagine that he was looking toward his legacy — but of course he would have had one regardless. This is truly a heartbreaking loss for the fashion world, and for everyone who loved him and held him up as their inspiration; it’s tragic that we will never see what else Abloh might have imagined, and where his creative vision might have taken him. In his honor, we’ve rounded up some of his noteworthy and interesting looks, including some fantastic menswear from just last week.

[Photos: Jacopo Raule/GC Images, Matt Baron/BEI/Shutterstock, Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic, Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions, Rob Latour/Shutterstock, Andrew Morales/Shutterstock, Kristina Bumphrey/Starpix/Shutterstock, Joss Leclair/Shutterstock, Justin Lane/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock, Gregory Pace/Shutterstock, Broadimage/Shutterstock, Patrick Lewis/Starpix for Netflix/Shutterstock, Matt Sayles/Invision/AP/Shutterstock, Gregory Pace/Shutterstock, Philippe Blet/Shutterstock, David Fisher/Shutterstock, Cornel Cristian Petrus/Shutterstock, Jim Ruymen/UPI/Shutterstock, John Angelillo/UPI/Shutterstock, AFF-USA/Shutterstock, Elizabeth Stewart’s Instagram]