November 28 will mark one year since the untimely death of Virgil Abloh, who was behind so much innovation at Louis Vuitton. Abloh was the fashion house’s first African American artistic director for menswear, holding the role from 2018 to 2021, marking the launch of a new vision of luxury, based on inclusiveness, diversity and empowerment. Even today, the maison has yet to find someone to replace him to carry forward the true ‘Art of Travel’ pursued since 1854 with the creation of elegant and practical trunks, bags and accessories and later — thanks to architects, artists and designers — the development of product categories ranging from ready-to-wear to fragrances.
The story of the designer has now been told in words and images by a close associate Anders Christian Madsen, in his book LOUIS VUITTON: VIRGIL ABLOH. Divided into eight chapters, one for each of the eight Louis Vuitton menswear collections and shows created by Virgil, as well as the complete catalog of Louis Vuitton sneakers he designed. The book takes readers into a unique world of kites and rainbows, full of cultural references and tales: from The Wizard of Oz and James Baldwin to 90s hip-hop style and a mind-blowing 1969 drum solo. With over 320 images and personal reflections from Virgil's closest circle of friends — including Naomi Campbell, Luka Sabbat, Kendall Jenner and Kid Cudi — the book is the ultimate chronicle and exploration of a partnership that has redefined not just dress codes but their very vocabulary.
Madsen notes that “as a black creative with no formal training in fashion design, no list of established fashion houses on his CV […] Abloh saw himself an infiltrator in high fashion: a true outsider who would become a groundbreaking figure.”
Interspersed with quotes by Virgil Abloh himself, or “Abloh-isms”, the book is accompanied by in-depth captions that allow the reader to contextualize every phase of the designer's story — both personal and professional — at Louis Vuitton. It includies the highlights of Abloh's work at Louis Vuitton: his first campaign for the Maison shot by Inez & Vinoodh, featuring a three-year-old girl dressed in a yellow Brick Road jersey from the Spring-Summer 2019 collection.
The book is published by Assouline — leading luxury publisher — and Louis Vuitton, with two collector's covers part of the Assouline Classics Collection. One cover is taken from the Louis Vuitton spin-off Spring-Summer 2022 show in Miami, with the image of a child leaping towards a red Louis Vuitton hot air balloon, emblematic of the significance of youth in Virgil's work; the other work of art displays the cartoons by the cultural icon/artist Reggieknow, who illustrated the now cult characters of Virgil's Spring-Summer 2021 show (a video with animated stars nicknamed ‘The Adventures of Zoooom with Friends’) .
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