A few hours ago Louis Vuitton announced Off-White‘s Virgil Abloh as the new creative director for Louis Vuitton menswear. He replaced Kim Jones who made a grand farewell at the finale of the Louis Vuitton menswear fashion show in Paris in January, with Naomi Cambpell and Kate Moss by his side.
I will admit I was surprised by the appointment of Abloh as Louis Vuitton’s new creative director. Baring the rare exception, appointments for houses like these have historically and traditionally gone to white designers. And although I’d heard the rumors that Abloh was being considered, I didn’t think much about them. Previously he was rumored to be in the running for Versace then Burberry but he didn’t get them.
But the news story broke a few hours ago on the New York Times and I happily accepted that Virgil Abloh is the new creative director of a French heritage house. He has become one of two black designers in France at this level in the industry, the other is Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain.
Rousteing’s ascent to creative director was the natural progression of an uber talented member within the house and he did it by the time he was 26 years old. Virgil Abloh’s appointment from the outside to one of the oldest and most powerful European houses in the luxury business is also a big deal. Louis Vuitton believes Abloh’s fashion design will appeal to the millennial generation and his style will make the house more relevant and visible. That means this is based on his talent and style alone.
Unfortunately there has already been some criticism about Abloh’s design integrity and uniqueness for a house like Louis Vuitton although he won’t show his first Louis Vuitton collection until June. I hope people try to keep an open mind and give him a fair chance to show what he can do.
As the story develops, we’ll keep you posted!