Virgil Abloh Joins Louis Vuitton

An additional move to LVMH’s menswear plans was announced yesterday as Virgil Abloh, long-time creative director for Kanye West and founder of Off-White, joined Louis Vuitton to lead their menswear operations.

The red-hot designer succeeds Kim Jones, who recently left the French brand to join Dior Homme as Creative Director, and will show his first collection in June during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. “Having followed with great interest Virgil’s ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today,” said Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton. “His sensibility towards luxury and savoir-faire will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton’s menswear into the future,” he added.

The founder of the haute street wear label becomes Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director and commented yesterday, “This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams. And to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start.”

The appointment, which was widely rumoured in recent months, is a clear acknowledgement of how luxury brands must respond to contemporary culture in new ways. There is an evident increase in the desire for intermingling between the luxury sector and street wear brands; which statistically helped boost the global sales of luxury personal goods by 5 percent last year to an estimated 263 billion Euros, according to a recent study by Bain & Company.

LVMH hope Abloh will be the man to make the brand more visible to the millennial generation and continue to build on the urban edgy foundations laid by Kim Jones. Expect to see more collaborations similar to the Louis Vuiton x Supreme partnership engineered by Jones before his departure. Abloh will continue to work with Kanye West and run Off-White during his time with Louis Vuitton — “it is for the 17-year-old version of myself, whereas Vuitton is for the 37-year-old I am today,” he said.