Virgil Abloh, founder of the Off-White and Supreme designer brands, designed a collection of lavish Vuitton garments for the brand’s Spring/Summer 2019 show.
Abloh, who holds an atelier in Paris, worked for Louis Vuitton from the age of 21, attending its shows as a guest. He told Vogue: “It’s always sort of been this unspoken conversation, ‘Oh, we could do something with this guy because he’s so much into the house and I’m so much into the house’.”
The off-the-rack but high-fashion garments highlighted the contrast between the rich history of French luxury and the often expensive and rough-and-ready reputation of American streetwear.
One ruffled silk dress – £7,900 – was covered in flower prints with matching, longer skirts, embroidered with silk flowers and Chantilly lace. They were done in a Riviera style – soft wide leather pants with lace peeking out, with a breathable detachable top. There were whimsical oversize red quilted leather sandals, in shades of red and shiny black.
For men, there were several slouchy Italian-made mules in green, red and blue, with peplum details.
WWD has described it as a tribute to the latter-day street. The New York Times has noted that the collaboration “suggests that the brand that was the first to sell big pants and super-slick cuffs, is now looking to the avant-garde to drive fashion”.
Luxury labels are looking to both high-end and streetwear fashion to drive demand. At fashion week in September, Hermès showed cropped trousers with sharp white saddle backs from its current Isotoner label, and last month Paris-based label A/X Armani Exchange showed silk trousers, including a pair with giant crests on the back, for its Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
Abloh is one of the most high-profile black designers to design for luxury brands. In June he established his own pre-collections house, Virgil Abloh Incorporated, to sell his own designs.