Designer Virgil Abloh, who founded the haute streetwear label Off-White and has worked as the longtime creative director for Kanye West (they even interned together at Fendi for six months in 2006), has been named as the next artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton.
Abloh’s new assignation makes him the first African-American artistic director of the label, which is one of the oldest and most powerful houses in the fashion business. He will take on the post that Kim Jones had left in January; Jones, meanwhile, will be replacing Kris Van Assche as the menswear designer at Christian Dior.
In a phone conversation with The New York Times, Abloh said of the news, “I feel elated. This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams. And to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start.”
Louis Vuitton chief executive Michael Burke meanwhile remarked, “Virgil is incredibly good at creating bridges between the classic and the zeitgeist of the moment.” He said of meeting Abloh and West during their Fendi internship, “I was really impressed with how they brought a whole new vibe to the studio and were disruptive in the best way. Virgil could create a metaphor and a new vocabulary to describe something as old-school as Fendi. I have been following his career ever since.”
Abloh founded Off-White in 2013 despite having no formal fashion education. Within two years, his label, which intersects streetwear with luxury, became a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize.
Header image from NSS Magazine.