Louis Vuitton Celebrates the Life of Virgil Abloh With a Final Tribute Show

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“Virgil Was Here.” These were the words sprawled across the screen of the Louis Vuitton tribute video. Simultaneously simple and powerful, the statement perfectly encapsulated Virgil Abloh’s lasting impact on the fashion industry. The designer was hired by Louis Vuitton in 2018, making history as the French house’s first Black artistic director.

Abloh seamlessly blended the world of high fashion with that of street style, a pioneer not only within the fashion industry, but also in music, art, and design. As these communities mourned the unexpected death of the beloved designer, Louis Vuitton announced their tribute: turning their planned showing of Abloh’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection— now recognized as his final work— into a celebration of his life.

The entire evening embodied who Abloh was as a designer, recontextualizing elements of past work to integrate with the new. The show represented a small timeline of who this man was and what he did. Outside the Brutalist Miami Marine Stadium, not only was a runway built, but so was a larger than life statue of Abloh. The talent and brains of Abloh are undeniable, but his greatness exceeded beyond.

Abloh wanted to make a difference for children around the world, especially in his parent’s home of Ghana. He dedicated time creating the Louis Vuitton 2020 Silver Lockit in support of UNICEF’s emergency programs for the most vulnerable children. In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton will donate 0 on behalf of each guest who attended the show to UNICEF.

The collection was loaded with symbolism, juxtaposing clean tailoring and classic silhouettes with bold colors and prints in order to comment on the childlike joy and spirit of wonderment Abloh hoped to instill among his consumers. This was only further reinforced by the show’s opening quote, from Virgil Abloh himself: “I’ve been on the focus, in terms of my art and creativity, of getting adults to behave like children again.”

Many of Virgil’s long time friends and collaborators came to honor him including Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Kerwin Frost, Pharrell, Gunna, and Lil Baby. Kid Cudi, Offset, and Quavo even walked the show.

As a rainbow was projected across the Miami arena and the entire design team from the house gathered for a farewell, one of Abloh’s most famous quotes rang through the speakers: “Life is so short that you can’t waste even a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do versus knowing what you can do.” Practicing his own advice, Virgil Abloh wasted no moment of his too-short time on this earth, leaving behind the legacy he knew he was capable of creating.

Flip through Louis Vuitton’s Menswear Spring/Summer 2022 collection below.

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