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Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection Virgin was here presented at Miami Marine Stadium
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Where do the bounds break? The final Louis Vuitton Man collection: Virgil was here

Narrative elements underlying Abloh’s attitude and vision to menswear design. Virgil was here: a logic that changed the mainstream 

Off -White’s strategy: the creation of a global community 

Systemic changes start at social levels, from the collective efforts of people taking action while lifting up their own communities. Virgil Abloh, who died on November 28th, will be remembered as the designer committed to helping ensure that this social revolution is not a moment but a strong movement, an ongoing progress in uplifting Black voices in the industry. His message moves from the idea that people cannot reach an equitable future without first looking at their own ecosystem: Abloh’s design represents the inclusiveness of racial and ethnic makeup of their diverse and global consumer base.

Son of Ghanaian immigrants, Virgil Abloh studied civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and received a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. The designer first met Kanye West when he was 22. That relationship set him on the road to Paris when in 2009 the rapper signed a deal for a sneaker collaboration with Louis Vuitton with Abloh as part of his team. When Abloh launched online in late 2013 his Off-White label, the designer described it as the grey area between black and white as the color off-white to the fashion world. In terms of their mission statement, Off White strives to explore the space between the avant-garde and more comfortable streetwear.  In that area lies the perfect combination of form and function. Ordinary clothing was elevated into luxury clothing through a disruptive strategy which became the key of the brand.

The ongoing experimentation with getting a classic silhouette to a fresh direction leads to a new culture: Virgil Abloh sets the headquarter in Milan in order to have the collections made in Italy with an American aesthetic, the best quality with an updated and modern approach. The reveal of the first Off-White collection in 2014 coincided with a broader shift in the currents of the fashion industry. It was the right answer to shifting consumers that proved difficult to rationalize against established luxury clothing categories. People started demanding more: they wanted streetwear. A world ruled by convention had led him to define his design as something which could make a global community regardless of the elitism or sort of territoriality that can happen in subculture. «I’m an autodidact, an explorer, and often I’m an amateur too. My career in that sense is an investigative exploration. It’s about how to be a black thinker in white spaces; it’s about inserting the black canon in art history books» Abloh explained. 

Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton

Abloh has often referred to Off White as a training ground or a mood-board for his ideas.  In 2018 he was named artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, the first black designer to hold this position, following the departure of Kim Jones. Louis Vuitton’s chairman and CEO Michael Burke praised how Virgil Abloh’s innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant not just in the industry but in popular culture today. The designer explained how the heritage and creative integrity of Louis Vuitton are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times. «This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of luxury of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams» explained the designer «And how to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this king of position has to look is fantastically modern spirit in which to start».

One of the ongoing themes in Abloh’s career was his belief that design should be accessible to everyone. In a world where luxury fashion has crafted products in limited quantities priced beyond what most people could afford, Abloh decided to collaborate with mass brands like Ikea, Champions and Vans. Through his Off-White label, Virgil Abloh took basic T-shirts and hoodies and turned them into works of art by making small tweaks to their material and construction. The larger message the designer wanted to convey through his design was that luxury isn’t necessarily about a price point or a particular consumer: it is about the attention the brand puts into details during all the creative process. Details as the result of Abloh’s inspiration coming from his heritage: «When I grew up, my father wore Kente cloth, with nothing beneath it to family weddings, funerals and graduations. When he went to an American wedding, he wore a suit» said the designer «I merged those two, celebrating my Ghanaian culture. Add LV patterns to the cloth, drape it, then pair and compare it again with tartan checks, and the result is indeed something new».

Abloh’s hybrid ability to bring and merge together the world of luxury and streetwear took a central stage at Louis Vuitton. 

Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection Virgin was here presented at Miami Marine Stadium
Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection ‘Virgil was here’ presented at Miami Marine Stadium

Virgil was here: Abloh’s Louis Vuitton final runway

Virgil Abloh final runway show took place on November 30th at Miami Marine Stadium where Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 menswear collection Virgin was here was unveiled.  After a long private battle with cancer, the designer died on November 28, aged 41.
The Miami show went ahead as planned: as Michael Burke said in a statement: «Virgil was not only a friend, great collaborator, creative genius, visionary and disruptor, but also one of the best cultural communicators of our times. Louis Vuitton proudly continues to celebrate his legacy with a final show, per his wishes».

The collection had already been presented in June 2021: a dialogue on juxtapositions, as well as the hybridization of garments which create new codes for the human preconceptions. 

Redefining conventional menswear, the artistic director crafted outerwear pieces dressed in shades of silver, pink, blue and green. Sweater were paired with volumized bottoms while other outfits were styled with tulle skirts and oversized gloves. Overcoats warped the model’s proportions to affect Abloh’s vision of ready-to-wear. Highlighting the designer’s knowledge of artistic disciplines – he was also a DJ, photographer and furniture designer- Abloh found inspiration from Amen Break, a 1969 drum solo that has been sampled in popular music. 

His design meant expanding and exploring themes that are already echoing throughout modern menswear. Over the last ten years tailored suits gave a taste of the traditional tracksuits, meanwhile special collaborations such as the one with Nike still speak to a younger and streetwear culture, with dress and skirts referring to gender fluidity. These elements are found throughout Abloh’s final collection. They mirror the designer’s ability to conceptualize his ideas through design. 

The Louis Vuitton team concluded the show by walking down the runway with Abloh’s voice heard in the background: «There is no limit. Life is so short that you can’t even waste a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do, versus what you can do». As the Maison has stated, the designer paved the way for future generations, a supporter of his community through his charities and passion. Everything subscribed to Abloh’s vision of making clothes mirroring an entire generation.

Virgil Abloh

American designer and entrepreneur. Artistic director of Louis Vuitton from 2018 until his untimely death in 2021, Abloh also founded Off-White, an Italian luxury clothing company based in Milan, where he served as CEO. Louis Vuitton showed the final collection drawn up by Virgil Abloh on a catwalk in Miami, transforming the planned event into a tribute to the designer who passed away on November 28. 

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

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check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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