Virgil Abloh has credited Kanye West for opening his eyes to the world of high fashion.
The Ghanaian-American designer has risen to fame since launching streetwear brand Off-White in 2013 and was announced as Kim Jones’ successor at Louis Vuitton’s menswear division in March (18), unveiling his first line for the French luxury label in Paris earlier this month.
While Abloh now holds one of the most coveted roles in the business, in a new interview with supermodel Naomi Campbell for British Vogue, he explained that it was his rapper pal West who took him to his first major presentation – a Comme des Garcons show.
“Kanye and myself have been friends for 14 years now, we’ve always been driven by fashion,” he said. “Kanye’s like, ‘Paris Fashion Week, this is where the new collections are debuting? I’m going to go.’ He invited all of us to go with him because he knew that’s what we were all into.”
Abloh’s debut menswear collection for Louis Vuitton featured monochromatic looks, streetwear influences, sharp tailoring and leather bags. At the conclusion of the show, the designer appeared emotional as he took his bow, and then proceeded to give West a tearful embrace.
“I wanted the world to see that the guy who fought for this moment is a part of it and is uniquely linked to me doing it,” the 37-year-old said of their hug. “The one thing that has to be stressed about that show is that it actually wasn’t me on the runway, you know. It was the community. That show was us. (West) willed it for us… That dream is his just as much as it’s mine. In my dream, it was him down the runway.”
During the chat, Abloh also emphasised how the Louis Vuitton spectacle felt like his first fashion show and how he is now looking forward to entering the next phase of his career.
“Now we are the establishment. I will no longer be referencing the old days and the barrier to entry, because we’ve… made a landscape,” he smiled. “I’m legitimately like, ‘Who can we empower next?'”
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