/Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh Dies of Cancer at Age 41 – The Wall Street Journal

Fashion Designer Virgil Abloh Dies of Cancer at Age 41 – The Wall Street Journal

Fashion Designer

Virgil Abloh Dies

of Cancer at Age 41

Virgil Abloh, a famed Illinois-born fashion designer who founded the Off-White label and became men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton, has died from cancer at the age of 41.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton announced the designer’s death Sunday.

Virgil Abloh collaborates with Braun to mark 100 years of good design (Photo: Business Wire)
Virgil Abloh collaborates with Braun to mark 100 years of good design (Photo: Business Wire)

“We are all shocked after this terrible news,” Chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault said in a release shared on social media. “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”

According to The New York Times, Abloh died in Chicago.

LVMH said Abloh had been battling cancer privately for several years.

“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.”

News of Abloh’s death was also shared in an Instagram post, in which his family said he had spent two years battling cardiac angiosarcoma after being diagnosed in 2019. He is survived by his wife, Shannon Abloh, children Lowe and Grey Abloh, sister Edwina Abloh, and parents Nee and Eunice Abloh.

“Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity and optimism never wavered,” the post reads. “Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, ‘Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,’ believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”

Abloh was born and raised in Rockford before studying engineering at the University of Wisconsin and later attaining a master’s degree in architecture from Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology.

The son of Ghanaian immigrants, Abloh was discovered in part as a result of getting his T-shirt designs printed in a Chicago shop and his collaboration with fellow Chicagoan Kanye West.

In 2011, West named Abloh creative director of his creative agency DONDA. During his tenure, he worked as artistic director on some of the most popular album art of the 21st century, including West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” “Yeezus” and the rapper’s Jay-Z collaboration “Watch the Throne.”

In recent years, Abloh helped raise funds for amfAR Against COVID-19 with Fashion Unites and just a couple of months before that, he was a part of a group of local designers lending their skills to a streetwear collection that embodied Chicago’s connectivity and attitude during the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.

In addition to his work for Off-White and Louis Vuitton, Abloh had designed sneakers for Nike and rugs for Ikea. For Nike, he created Serena Williams’ 2018 U.S. Open dress.

Abloh was the first African American to hold the role of men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton, a position he took on in 2018. Several months later, he debuted at Paris Fashion Week.

A celebrity-packed audience in the gardens at Palais Royal included Rihanna, wearing pieces from his men’s collection, and West, whom a “teary-eyed” Abloh embraced after the show. The designer had also invited thousands of local students to his debut, the Tribune reported at the time.

From his hot Off-White fashion label to his neon orange Louis Vuitton pop-up and MCA exhibit in 2019, Abloh couldn’t help being added to the names of those that changed the fashion world in the last decade.

“I’m an optimist. I ride in positivity. That’s what helps me get up every day,” Abloh told the Tribune last year. “I just hope that everyone is more heartfelt in their moves, that they express their creativity.”

As news of Abloh’s death spread Sunday, fellow designers replied to the post on Abloh’s Instagram account announcing his death.

“Shocked beyond belief. The world has suffered a huge loss and fashion will not be the same without you, my dear friend Virgil. I will miss you,” Donatella Versace wrote in an Instagram comment.

“My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones,” Marc Jacobs commented on Instagram. “May you Rest in Peace and Power dear Virgil.”

On Twitter, members of the music and fashion communities were quick to praise his contributions and offer their condolences.

“My heart is broken Virgil you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live forever Sending love and light to your wife, children, family and day ones you’re with the Master now, shine,” Pharrell Williams tweeted.

Condolences poured in from all corners of Chicago, with the Chicago Bulls, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Consulate of France in Chicago all tweeting statements in memory of Abloh.

”Today, the city of Chicago mourns the loss of a legend,” the city tweeted on its official Twitter account. “@virgilabloh was a visionary who shifted our culture, broke barriers and opened doors for Black designers in high-end fashion.

“He used his genius to make a lane for a new generation of creatives. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and all he inspired. Rest in power.”

The Chicago Tribune’s Ariel Cheung, Courtney Kueppers, Darcel Rockett and Talia Soglin contributed. Variety also contributed.

Original Source