PARIS (Reuters) – Louis Vuitton will show the latest collection drawn up by Virgil Abloh on a catwalk in Miami on Tuesday, transforming the planned event into a tribute to the designer who passed away suddenly on Sunday.
“In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton pays tribute to the life and legacy of a creative genius with a presentation of his Spring-Summer 2022 Collection,” said the brand, which belongs to LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH.PA), in an Instagram post featuring a teaser video showing a girl setting off on a bicycle tour that ends on a beach lined with palm trees.
Abloh, 41, died on Sunday after privately battling a rare form of cancer, taking the fashion industry by surprise, including those who worked closely with him.
“On Saturday evening, @virgilabloh and I wrote our last words for his @louisvuitton show in Miami,” said British Vogue fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen.
“He never stopped, and neither did those of us around him,” he added, noting that he had booked Sunday for the “inevitable stream of ideas” he’s always sent me for our 90-page LV show notes a day before showtime.
Abloh, the American-born son of Ghanaian immigrants, studied architecture before rising to become fashion’s highest profile Black designer, symbolizing the arrival of streetwear in the realm of luxury when he took up creative direction of men’s designs for Louis Vuitton in 2018.
Fashion shows for his Italian luxury streetwear label Off-White were famously packed events, drawing crowds that spilled out into the streets. Abloh was known for inviting industry outsiders, mixing students and skateboarders with stars from the worlds of design, music and sports, to catwalk presentations.
“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” he was quoted as often saying, as relayed by an Instagram post announcing his passing on his account.
“As a devoted supporter of his community through his charities and passions, he was an eternal optimist who believed anything was possible,” Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, said in a statement.
(Reporting by Mimosa Spencer; Editing by Paul Simao)