Fashion designer Virgil Abloh has died after suffering from cancer, it has been announced.
The 41-year-old, who was the creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White, had cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of the disease, according to an announcement on his official Instagram page.
We thank you all for your love and support, and we ask for privacy as we grieve and celebrate Virgil’s life.
Abloh redefined the idea of the modern fashion designer, adding DJ, artist and furniture designer to his creative arsenal. After training as an architect, he started designing clothes in 2012. His first design, a screenprint on a Ralph Lauren rugby shirt, set the tone for his future work. Collaborating with everyone from Nike to Ikea, Perrier and Mercedes-Benz, he took fashion into arenas where it had not gone before, cross-pollinating it with other fields. The fashion purists were not amused, he told the Observer in 2019, “When I was showing in fashion week, people were saying, ‘That’s not fashion.’” In 2013 he founded his own label, Off-White, and was appointed head of menswear design at Louis Vuitton in 2018. He was the first black designer at Vuitton and the most visible black designer in fashion and advertisement.
Abloh was also a hugely visible figure in rap, designing the album covers for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s joint album Watch the Throne, as well as West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy among others and covers for Pop Smoke, Westside Gunn, Octavian and Lil Uzi Vert. He worked closely with West before becoming a fashion designer. In an interview, the rapper had said of Abloh: “I have all these ideas and Virgil is able to architect them because he is an actual architect.”