VIRGIL ABLOH LEAVES US BY CONTINUING TO PUSH THE LIMITS IN FASHION
By Kaleigh Werner
Two white flags swung below a chandelier in the former Paris stock exchange with the message “Question Everything”, as close friends of Virgil Abloh walked his last ready-to-wear and high fashion collections. From 100 storefronts throughout Paris, the creative genius and late founder of Off-White left people stunned once more with the beauty of his brilliance. Titled “Spaceship Earth: An Imaginary Experience”, the essence of careful thought and detail was stitched into every piece featured on the runway.
Underwear pulled above mini skirts, tie dye prints, puffer bags, cargo pants and black blazers fed the audience not only trendy, but classic looks in the first portion of the show. By combining pop culture inspiration, designer streetwear and timeless staples, a dichotomy between distinct cultures was represented in this season’s ready-to-wear collection. Next we saw varsity jackets worn with long gowns, t-shirts paired with tulle skirts and riding caps matched with the print of a piece, all indicative of this same contrast within his reimagined “haute couture” line. Bella Hadid unveiled the new collection as “the bride”, wearing a silk white puffy dress pulled in the front to reveal laced sneakers on her feet and a pair of heels in her hand.
The character and detail within every look was a tribute to himself, as well as Abloh’s meaningful relationships and passion for constantly pushing for evolution in his own designs. A look named “The Carrie B” was dedicated to his friend Sarah Jessica Parker and included a large shopping bag symbolic of her iconic character. Two bags held by Cindy Crawford included the words “More Life” on one and pills stuffed in the other, both of which resembled Abloh’s long battle with his health.
But, the real artistry and legacy of Abloh and Off-White came from the opening message in the show. A recording of a 2020 Pharrel Williams interview played throughout the hall talking about the importance of sharing codes, specifically cheat codes, so no one has to figure everything out themselves. Abloh’s dedication in establishing Off-White as not only a clothing brand, but as a portrayal of humanity designed to evoke inspiration, was echoed in this. By the end, the beats of DJ Jeff Mills bounced from the pyramids of speakers on each side of the hall and the
audience watched as the last train of white tulle left the floor. His final show was over, but the celebration of his legacy continues.