Off-White walked Paris Fashion Week with a tribute to Virgil Abloh
“It really feels like a celebration,” Tracee Ellis Ross said Women’s Wear Daily while launching the Off-White Womenswear Fall/Winter 2022-2023 collection as one of the opening acts for Paris Fashion Week on Monday night. In tribute to its late artistic director Virgil Ablohthe label hosted a multimedia and interactive track presentation that debuted as a citywide live stream and on TikTok titled “Spaceship Earth: An ‘Imaginary Experience'”.
Ellis Ross was among a host of stars at the Palais Brongniart in Paris which included Rihanna (her growing baby bump encased in a flesh-colored leather mini dress and matching shearling), A$AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Idris Elbe and Luka Sabbath. Creators Olivier Rousteing (Balmain), Grace Wales Bonner, jerry lorenzo (fear of God) and Tremaine Emory (Denim Tears) were also present, among others. But there were also plenty of stars on the Off-White catwalk; among a host of veteran and newly minted models were Naomi Campbell, Joan Petits and Adut Akechjoined by Abloh’s friend and occasional muse Serena Williams.
Wearing Abloh’s final designs for the label he founded, they weaved their way around a huge low-hanging chandelier, with several models carrying flags similar to those once flown in museums hosting the traveling exhibit. by Abloh in 2019 “Figures of Speech”. Each was adorned with their signature slogan: “Questioning Everything”.
Despite the show’s theme of an “imaginary experience,” what’s not in dispute is that in his brief life and career, the multifaceted Abloh accomplished more than most could. to imagine. His evolution at Off-White was no different; although his tenure as creative director was tragically cut short, his final designs fulfilled a wish he shared with Vogue in 2021, ironically during his last appearance at Paris Fashion Week: “Off-White should be grown up” .
The Women’s Fall/Winter 2022-2023 collection, most of which was designed by Abloh himself, was exactly that. In keeping with his DJ alter ego, several looks evoked a remix of great fashion moments, including Tom Ford’s now-legendary 1995 collection for Gucci and Alexander McQueenspray painted a tulle dress live on her 1999 runway. The latter came to mind as the iconic Debra Shaw took to the track for the finale, contorting her torso in a cropped, twisted, logo-embellished white jersey top paired with an ivory equestrian cap and massive shredded tulle skirt adorned with sky blue spray paint and her own leash.
But while nostalgic, those references took on new life in a collection that was also a poignant reminder of Abloh’s unique genius. As reported on site by WWD:
On the catwalk, cameramen rushed around models dressed in outfits ranging from a sharp black pantsuit to a shimmering lilac mini dress and chunky quilted jackets and hiking boots, part of a new capsule from ski wear for women and men. Williams, who wore custom Off-White outfits on the court, wore a tie-dye print bodysuit with gathered leggings, topped with a form-fitting sheer sleeveless dress.
But the big news was the launch of the “High Fashion” line, with a parade of 28 looks that reads like a who’s who of modeling. It was high fashion for the Gen-Z ensemble, underscored by the laid-back attitude of the models who paraded in layers of yarrow pleats and heavy trains, wearing headwear ranging from baseball caps the size of riding helmet with elongated bucket hats.
Source: Women’s Wear Daily
With Abloh’s influence so evident on the runway, one was also confronted with the fact that the debut of his latest collection took place exactly three months before the day of his death on Nov. 28, 2021. Off-White, who is majority-owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, has yet to announce a new creative director or directors, as has also been teased. But there’s apparently another new development brewing for the brand, as a beauty line is likely to debut this spring, WWD and Business of Fashion report. All told, as the fashion world continues to reckon with the loss of Abloh’s incredible and seemingly limitless imagination, his vision for Off-White will endure.
Maiysha Kai is theGrio’s Lifestyle Editor, covering all things black and beautiful. Her work is inspired by two decades of experience in fashion and entertainment, a love of great books and aesthetics, and the indomitable brilliance of black culture. She is also a Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and editor of the YA Anthology. Body (Words of Change series).
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