Visionary designer Virgil Abloh lost his private battle with cancer and died on Sunday, 28 November at the age of 41. Abloh founded and built Off-White into a formidable luxury fashion label and he has also been Louis Vuitton's artistic director for menswear since March 2018.
Virgil Abloh. Source: LVMH
“We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their father, their brother or their friend,” said Bernard Arnault, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer.
In July 2021, LVMH had acquired a majority stake in Off-White LLC, the trademark owner of Off-White, of which Abloh was the founder and artistic director since 2013. Additionally, LVMH and Abloh had announced the expansion of their relationship to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in a variety of sectors beyond the realm of fashion.
Born in Rockford, Illinois in 1980, Abloh was an artist, architect, engineer, creative director and designer. After earning a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin Madison, he completed a Master’s Degree in Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in a curriculum founded by Mies van der Rohe.
Abloh’s brand Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh was started in 2012 as an artwork titled “Pyrex Vision.” In 2013, the brand premiered a seasonal men’s and women’s fashion label showing runway collections during Paris Fashion Week since 2015. In 2015, Abloh for Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh was among the finalists of the LVMH Prize.
He also presented his work at major design institutions around the globe by the likes of Harvard Graduate School of Design, Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and the Rhode Island School of Design. In 2019 he had a major exhibition of past and current work at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Chicago, Illinois.
Abloh has been awarded various prizes throughout his outstanding career, most recently winning the British Fashion Awards “Urban Luxe” award and International Designer of the Year at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in 2017.