Breaking Down Virgil Abloh’s Already Impressive 2018

Virgil Abloh has dominated 2018. And we’re barely into the second quarter.

The Chicago-raised creative started the year on a strong note, as he opened the second day of Paris Fashion Week with the debut of his Off-White collection dubbed “Business Casual.” It was at that time we received a sneak peek at the brand’s footwear collaborations with Nike and Timberland.

Shortly after PFW, Abloh released his first official single called “Orvnge”—a tribal-inspired collaboration with Boys Noize. He also teamed up with famed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami for their “Future History” exhibit at the Gagosian Gallery in London, and eventually joined forces with French eatery Wild & the Moon Cafe for a monthlong collaboration.

Fashion, music, food—it seemed like Abloh had his hands in everything; however, his biggest career move took place at the end of March when he was announced as the first black artistic director for Louis Vuitton. The 37-year-old replaced Kim Jones, who announced his departure from the French fashion house back in February. It was a huge moment not only for Abloh and the streetwear world, but for racial minorities working within the industry. 

You can check out some of Abloh's biggest highlights of 2018 above. There's no doubt he'll earn a lot more wins in the coming months. 

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Skepta and Kim Jones Discuss Nike’s Latest Footwear and Apparel Drop for the World Cup

Complex News' UK correspondent Fenn recently chopped it up with the likes of Skepta, Kim Jones, Adebayo Akinfenwa, Tobin Heath, and more about Nike's footwear and apparel drop for World Cup 2018. Based on their reaction, the hype around Nike's latest offerings should get more people interested in one of the biggest sporting events of the year. Check out what they had to say in the video above.

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Skepta & Kim Jones Discuss Nike’s Latest Footwear & Apparel Drop For the World Cup

Complex News’ UK correspondent Fenn chopped it up with the likes of Skepta, Kim Jones, Adebayo Akinfenwa and Tobin Heath about Nike’s latest footwear and apparel drop for the upcoming World Cup. The hype around the global sporting event is just as real as the interest in Nike’s latest offerings.  

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LifeAtComplex: Team Virgirl Abloh vs Team Skepta (London Trip Day 2)

It’s day 2 of Tony’s trip out in London to cover the Nike Football Team Kit unveiling for the World Cup and today Tony teams up with Skepta in a football tournament. Six teams go at, only one will be crowned the winner. Kim Jones, WizKid, and Virgil Abloh also have teams running in this tournament! Watch to see how far Tony and Team Skepta goes!

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LifeAtComplex: Nike London Trip – World Cup Unveiling (Day 1)

On today’s episode Tony flies out to London to cover the unveiling of the new Nike World Cup team kits and Mercurial football cleats. Special guest like Virgil Abloh, Kim Jones, Neymar, and American Women’s soccer star Tobin Heath make an appearance. Be prepared for loads of eye candy!

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How Kim Jones Made Louis Vuitton Cool

On Thursday, Kim Jones, one of the most important designers in menswear right now, took his final bow. It was announced earlier this week that he was leaving his post as artistic men’s director at Louis Vuitton.

Since 2011, Jones has designed the French fashion house’s menswear collections and solidified the label’s place as a leader in the conversation on what’s cool. Forging collaborations with brands like Supreme and Fragment Design, he opened up Louis Vuitton to a new loyal following of streetwear fans and, most notably, gave the label an identity that holds influence and relevance.

Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway

His final show, which took place at the Grand Palais, was the perfect display of his streetwear sensibility and knack for turning his exotic travels into beautiful garments. Models walked down the runway in cashmere Flankman-shorts typically worn by American rodeo pro-athletes, which he saw during a trip to Wyoming, several garments with textured prints from aerial shots he took while flying over Kenya, where he grew up, and a knit sweater with the Louis Vuitton logo reconfigured to read “Peace and Love”—perhaps his way of saying goodbye. Of course, he also paid homage to the legacy of Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs, who appointed Jones as style director in 2011 and artistic director of menswear after his departure, through Louis Vuitton-monogram trench coats modeled by Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. “This was really a thank you and reference to @themarcjacobs early 2000s Vuitton and the fact that he was the one that gave me the opportunity to be @louisvuitton love you all xxx,” he wrote on Instagram.

In 1997, Jacobs became the artistic director for Louis Vuitton and introduced the luxury brand’s first ready-to-wear men’s and women’s collection. It would be the first time that Louis Vuitton, a 141-year-old fashion house that mostly catered to consumers who could afford $10,000 trunks, became synonymous with the words “innovative” and “cool.” In 2011, Jacobs famously collaborated with artist and designer Stephen Sprouse on a collection of traditional monogram handbags covered in neon graffiti spelling out the brand’s name. In a 2009 interview with The Guardian, Jacobs told reporter Sarah Mower his mindset behind rebelling: “I had been trying to follow the rules and do what everybody told me until it got to the point where I realized that’s not why I was brought here. I’m here to do something to make this young and cool and contemporary and of the moment…. It had the credibility of the street, but also this sort of style of somebody who was a fashion designer.”

Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway

During his 16-year tenure at Louis Vuitton, Jacobs went on to work with artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Yayoi Kusama. Through these collaborations, he authentically was able to tap into a younger customer base.

But if Jacobs paved the way for legacy brands to put art on the runways and in stores, Jones was responsible for bringing streetwear to the storied fashion house and, arguably, high-fashion. He sent models down the runway in denim designed in collaboration with Japanese label Kapital for Spring 2013. His Spring 2015 collection, which included a bright pink bomber jacket inspired by his travels to India. His Fall 2015 line was dedicated to his favorite designer, Christopher Nemeth, who also had a knack for mixing high-fashion with street. He also designed two insanely successful collaborations with Hiroshi Fujiwara’s Fragment Design and Supreme.

The high-fashion industry might be accepting streetwear now and, in some cases, even borrowing from the culture but Louis Vuitton, under Jones, was a trailblazer in this. A genuine fan of streetwear himself, he has spoken about admiring not labels like just Helmut Lang and Alexander McQueen but also A Bathing Ape, Supreme, and Good Enough. While in college at Central Saint Martins, he worked at Gimme5, a company that introduced him to Japanese designers Jun Takahashi, Fujiwara, and Nigo. A decade before his stint at Vuitton, he mixed his love for streetwear with high-fashion fabrics on the runway for his own eponymous label from 2003 until 2008. At one point, he was even involved in Kanye’s defunct clothing label Pastelle, which helped foster his friendships with West and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh. “Some critics say that I’m just jumping on the bandwagon, but actually I’m not,” he said about his connection to streetwear, specifically Supreme, in an interview with South China Morning Post. “It’s always been part of my DNA.”

Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway

Jones’ strength, in addition to his obvious talent and skill in design, has been being able to captivate young consumers—without alienating Louis Vuitton’s older shoppers. According to Fashionista, LVMH’s profit increased by 23% in the first half of 2017 largely due to Louis Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme. “We get lots of fashion kids, lots of classic men and some sort of older, cooler guys and some really traditional men, and I have to cover everybody,” he told Esquire. “There are three or four collections in the store at the same time. I’m aware that I have to dress someone who’s either 16 or 60.”

It’s unclear where Jones will go next, though there are rumors he may potentially head to Burberry, which announced last October that its designer, Christopher Bailey, was exiting the brand. But it’s undeniable that he re-invigorated Louis Vuitton’s men’s line for a younger generation. Louis Vuitton, under Jones’ direction, disrupted what luxury menswear could look like.

Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway
Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2018 show
Image via Complex Original/Andi Elloway

 

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Louis Vuitton Finally Announces First Pop-Up Shop for Supreme Collaboration

Louis Vuitton finally announced the first pop-up shop for their long-awaited Supreme collaboration Wednesday. The first Louis Vuitton x Supreme shop will open in Sydney, Australia this Friday:

“No New York City men's conversation is complete without Supreme,” Kim Jones, Louis Vuitton style director, said in a press release after the house's Fall/Winter show in Paris in January.​ According to XXL, the pop-up shop is expected to remain in service through July 13.

Additional pop-up locations are expected to be announced. In May, an attempt at opening one in New York City hit a wall when all 32 members of Manhattan's Community Board No. 2 voted to reject the proposal for a location at 25 Bond St. Fashionista reported that several Bond St. residents showed up to a public hearing to express their “strong disapproval” of the shop. Additionally, Supreme reportedly failed to present a management plan for handling such a high amount of customers.

“The applicant presented no plan as to where these 1000+ customers would use the bathroom while waiting hours upon hours in the line,” the Board said.

The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collection includes a skate deck, a box logo tee, bags, and (so much) more.

 

A post shared by YOON (@yoon_ambush) on Jan 19, 2017 at 6:47am PST

Good luck at the pop-ups.

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The Most Hyped Style Drops of 2017 (So Far)

 Each year, brands and designers drop several collections, collaborations, and special releases. And each year, there are a few that stand out and grab everyone’s attention. Hype can be brought on by the brand’s own popularity; other times it’s a co-sign from an A-list celebrity. Regardless of how it happens, the most in-demand pieces often sell out almost instantly, cause long lines (even as brands and retailers implement new, stricter lineup systems), and show up on sites like eBay and Grailed—sometimes for triple the retail price.

We’re only halfway through 2017 and there have already been quite a few style releases that have dominated the conversation. Seriously—some recent drops have been so insane that news outlets like Huffington Post and ABC7 Eyewitness News, who wouldn’t normally cover these releases, were hyping them up.

From the usual suspects like Supreme and Kanye West to everything in between, these are the most hyped style drops of 2017 so far. And before you get mad, this list only includes apparel and accessories. We have separate lists coming for the best sneakers.


  • Bape x Anti Social Social Club Collaboration

    Anti Social Social Club has quickly become one of the biggest brands in streetwear. Every drop sells out almost instantly. At the first annual ComplexCon last November, the brand, which collaborated with Undftd on hoodies and tees, had one of the longest lines all weekend.

    So, when ASSC teased a collaboration with Bape, kids were basically salivating over the collection. It was small—hoodies, tees, and zip-ups with ASSC font and Bape’s iconic ABC Camo pattern, released in limited quantities at Bape’s New York location only. The exclusivity of the line, in addition to the popularity of both Bape and ASSC, definitely made this collab one of the most hyped of the year so far. In fact, some of the pieces are currently being resold on eBay for up to $1,600.


  • Supreme x Louis Vuitton Collaboration

    In 2000, Louis Vuitton hit Supreme with a cease-and-desist after the brand attempted to release skate decks with a graphic similar to LV’s signature monogram. It came as a surprise, then, that nearly two decades later, the fashion house—led by men’s artistic director Kim Jones—is collaborating with Supreme, even if Jones is a noted fan of streetwear.

    The Supreme x LV collection was first teased in early January, when Jones posted (then quickly deleted) an Instagram featuring a sticker mash-up of the two brands. A few weeks later, Louis Vuitton confirmed the collaboration during its Fall/Winter 2017 fashion show in Paris by sending models down the runway wearing pieces from the line. Since then, Travis Scott, Kate Moss, ASAP Bari, David Beckham, and more have been seen rocking the yet-to-be-released items.

    Perhaps what’s most interesting about this collaboration is what it represents: High-fashion is finally openly acknowledging streetwear. Jones put it best: “No New York men’s conversation is complete without Supreme.”

    The Supreme x Louis Vuitton collaboration won’t be cheap: $65,000 LV monogram trunks, $485 box logo T-shirts, and $435 camp caps to name a few. But that likely won’t stop people from buying their favorite pieces when the line drops this coming July. Even the city of New York seems to understand the hype around the collaboration. Last month, a Manhattan community board denied a proposal to have a Louis Vuitton x Supreme pop-up shop to be held at 25 Bond St. in the NoHo neighborhood.


  • Needles Track Pants

    Needles, the Japanese label founded by designer Keizo Shimizu, has been making their now famous track pants with the butterfly embroidery for a few seasons. But it wasn’t until a few months ago that stylish kids everywhere began catching on. With the sportswear trend and heavy co-signs from ASAP Rocky, ASAP Bari, Luka Sabbat, and the No Vacancy Inn guys, Needles hasn’t been able to keep the track pants in stock at Nepenthes, the store Shimizu opened, and other stores.


  • Supreme MetroCard

    Supreme has had a long history of releasing novelty pieces, including punching bags, bricks, and even nunchucks. The brand’s Spring/Summer 2017 collection was no different. This past February, the brand released Supreme-branded MetroCards. Retailing for only $5.50, the limited edition MetroCards were sold at Supreme’s store, online, and MTA vending machines at select subway stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. The demand for the cards was huge—so big, in fact, that the lines inside the subway stations looked like queues outside of a Supreme store during a Thursday drop. Now, they’re being resold on sites like eBay and Grailed for up to $70. Cops even had to shut down the line that formed at the Union Square Station because it got too hectic. The MTA has collaborated with other brands before, including Calvin Klein, but none garnered as much attention as this.


  • Kanye West’s Calabasas Collection

    At this point, anything Kanye West releases is bound to attract tons of attention. Prior to the release of his Calabasas collection, West was often seen wearing the maroon track pants from the line. But back then, he and Adidas had not confirmed whether or not it was a custom piece, or if it would eventually be for sale. Later, many thought the pants were only for “friends and family” when some received them as invitations for the rapper’s Yeezy Season 4 fashion show. 

    But this past March, the Calabasas collection was finally made available to the public via the YeezySupply.com website. No surprise: It sold out within minutes. The line—track pants, crewneck sweaters, hats—retailed for $25–$200, much less than previous Yeezy Season releases, which likely contributed to the success of the collection.


  • VLONE Releases

    ASAP Bari has turned VLONE into a huge success. The brand’s signature black and orange motif has been seen on everyone from fellow ASAP Mob members Rocky and Ferg to Odell Beckham Jr. and 2 Chainz. While Bari doesn’t follow a calendar—he seems to release product whenever he feels like it, and via VLONE pop-up shops—he was able to dominate the conversation when he did drop new pieces. This year, he opened several VLONE pop-ups, and the lines were insane. Now, pieces are being resold on Grailed for nearly double the retail price.

    The brand’s success has led to collaborations with Nike on a pair of Air Force 1s, which resold on eBay for more than $90,000, and Tupac’s estate on merch. Later this month, Bari is also set to present his first ever cut-and-sew collection during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.


  • Palace Spring/Summer 2017 Collection

    Although Palace was founded in 2009, the London skate brand has become even more popular Stateside. In fact, like most of its drops, they couldn’t keep the Spring/Summer 2017 collection in stores. If you’ve ever checked Palace’s online shop on the day of any release, chances are that more than half of the collection already sold out in minutes.

    Some of the best-sellers from the Spring/Summer 2017 collection included their graphic T-shirts inspired by Prince and the cult classic film The Breakfast Club, as well as the “tri-ferg” logo hoodies and track jackets.

    Luckily, Palace has opened their first U.S. shop in New York. The bad news? There are still lines outside the store, so it may not actually mean it’ll be easier to get your hands on a piece.


  • KAWS x Uniqlo x Peanuts Plush Toy

    Along with his limited Air Jordan collaboration, KAWS also linked up with the Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo to release a collection inspired by the Peanuts cartoons. The affordable T-shirts ($15) sold well, but the item most people were after was the Snoopy plush toy, which featured KAWS’ signature Xs on the eyes. KAWS toys have always been seen as collectibles. Uniqlo briefly restocked the plush toys but only at select stores in Japan and Hong Kong.

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