Abloh, Virgil

Abloh Virgil (1980). Fashion designer of Ghanaian origin. Louis Vuitton’s artistic director since 2018 and he is also the CEO of Off-White.

Abloh Virgil. Fashion designer of Ghanaian origin. Virgil was born in Rockford, Illinois, on September 30, 1980. He was born into a family of humble origins. he graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin. Additionally he earned a master’s in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Moreover, during the course of his life he ventured as a DJ in clubs, making himself known with the name Flat White.

In 2003 he met John Monopoly, the former manager of Kanye West. A strong harmony was immediately born between the two. Although Abloh was not tied to fashion, thanks to past studies, he convinced Monopoly to let him design the rapper’s merchandise. In 2006, with West, he found himself in Rome for an internship in the  Fendi‘s atelier. Michael Burke, now Vuitton’s CEO, was the CEO at the time.

Soon after, they will found the young fashion brand Pyrex Vision, a simply streetwear line, consisting of tracksuits, t-shirts and branded accessories.

In 2010 Abloh officially assumes the role of creative director at Donda, West’s creative agency.

Abloh’s raise to fame 

His success was achieved over the years. In fact, in 2013 with the help of Marcelo Burlon and the New Guards Group collective Virgil founded Off-White. It’s a brand dedicated to Millennials defined as deluxe streetwear. “I feel like we are in a new Renaissance for young people,” he says.

In 2013 Abloh also directed ASAP ROCKY’s Fashion Killa Video.

After being selected for the prestigious award organized by LVMH in favor of young talents of international fashion. Then he began to show in Paris with a women’s collection and then returned, in 2016, to propose a men’s ready-to-wear, dedicated to Lucio Fontana .

In 2017, after having signed important collaborations with Nike, Ikea, Rimowa and Jimmy Choo, he arrives at the management of the creative team of Louis Vuitton Homme, succeeding Kim Jones.

Abloh is fond of a loud slogan or logo that either states what the item is or deliberately confuses it.

Abloh has always supported his interest in luxury, denying fast fashion. It is also defined as a whole thing.

What I do can be defined in different ways: architect, artist, graphic designer, fashion designer, creative director, art director, stylist, director, photographer, DJ … I’m not interested in focusing on only one thing. 

His fashion tells about contemporary society without forcing its minimalist aspect. He is adept at mixing styles naturally. Street culture, with Abloh, blends with tailored details: a comfortable look that captures the right key for a modern fashion language in tailoring.

In 2015 Abloh was a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize.

He also won International designer of the Year at the GQ men of the year awards in 2017.

Abloh from 2018 to 2019

In 2018 Abloh revealed his Ikea collaboration titled ‘Makerad’. Aimed at reaching students and young adults, the collection featured slogan covered rugs, storage furniture and Ikea’s Frakta shopping bag with an Abloh trademark twist.

Abloh
Abloh x Ikea, “Makerad”.

Broadening his artistic collaboration range, Virgil Abloh went onto collaborate with renowned Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, in October 2018.  The exhibition was called “TECHNICOLOR 2”. Indeed the contemporary art exhibition saw a culmination of both their distinctive creative languages. The vibrant display boasted of large sculptures, neon colours, hanging canvases and a blend of both their motifs.

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Additionally Abloh was nominated in the ‘menswear designer of the year’ category by the prestigious CFDA fashion awards in 2018.

In the same year he was also named as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by the Time.

The designer showed his first collection for Louis Vuitton at the 2018 Men’s Fashion Week at the Palais-Royal gardens in Paris.

Moreover Abloh continued to create waves in 2019. For instance his Fall Winter 2019 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton raised a lot of controversy. In fact he took inspiration from Michael Jackson’s pop culture legacy. Especially, Abloh’s interpretation saw criticism after HBO’d documentary on MJ brought issues of child abuse to light. Immediately Abloh and LV clarified the air surrounding their latest sartorial offering.

During his career he also collaborated with Moncler and Warby Parker.

Abloh 2019-2020

In 2019 Abloh performed at Coachella valley music and arts festival. Not to mention, Abloh was spotted wearing Off White X Nike shoes.  He presented his music and fashion on the same stage.

Abloh
Virgil Abloh at Coachella.

Additionally ‘Figures of speech’ was unveiled in 2019. It is an exhibit celebrating the works and intrinsic aesthetics of Virgil Abloh. It was designed by Abloh himself. Curated by Michael Darling of Museum of Contemporary Arts (Chicago), the exhibit showcased the evolution of Abloh’s genre-bending creative practice.

Abloh
Virgil Abloh x MCA Chicago.

Amidst New York fashion week in September 2019, Abloh announced that he would take a 3-months break from his professional responsibilities. In fact, he was burned out owing to his busy lifestyle and sought medical leave, giving fashion month a miss.

In the same year he was also nominated for 2019 “Menswear Designer of the Year”.

Additionally in 2019, Virgil was appointed to the board of directors of The Council of Fashion Designers of America. The council’s aim is to promote the American fashion industry.

The designer created a custom Off-White gown and veil for Hailey Bieber’s wedding day.

Furthermore in 2020, he established the Virgil Abloh™️ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. He was able to raise $1 million for the scholarships. They will be managed by the Fashion Scholarship Fund to assist Black students. 

The designer is rumored to have a net worth of $20 million.

Abloh today

Abloh is happily married and has two kids. 

After his break Virgil is back on the scene. In fact in January 2021 he presented the Louis Vuitton’s Fall Winter 2021 menswear. Everything revolved around Black consciousness and culture appropriation, topics very close to the designer. The collection was inspired, and accompanied, by the words of James Baldwin in “Stranger in the Village”.

As Black people, as trans people, as marginalized people, the world is here for our taking, for it takes so much from us.

This was the sixth collection he presented with LV. Originally designed to be performed live, the show was filmed and presented online, due to the restrictions to stop the Covid-19 pandemic. Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light was the name of the short film. 

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This collection is probably the most divisive yet. It was for sure a challenge to archetypes (the artist, the salesman, the architect, the vagabond). Some recurring themes of the presentation were diversity, inclusivity, and unconscious biases.

Kai-Isaiah Jamal walked the show and he is now the first Black transgender model to walk for Louis Vuitton. The show also brought some criticism, some believe that he overloads his clothes and doesn’t finish concepts. Indeed some designs are very complex, and do not focus on a single thing. But maybe this could be one way to reach every single person in his audience.

Virgil Abloh is for sure a promising talent, and we expect to see a lot more from him.

 

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FENDI

Fendi is a high fashion Italian company, known for its luxurious fur and leather goods. Read the history of the historic brand with the double F.

Index

  1. The Origin
  2. Karl Lagerfeld Creative Director
  3. The Third Generation
  4. LVMH Acquires Fendi
  5. The Success
  6. The Recent Years
  7. Celebrating 50 Years of Collaboration with Lagerfeld
  8. Current Situation

The Origin

Italian house of furs and leather goods. One of the first brands of the Made in Italy movement to become world famous. The company was established in Rome 1925, as a small shop for leather goods, and a secret fur workshop, on via del Plebiscito. The founders, Edoardo and Adele Fendi, developed the brand, but the true success started with the second generation, represented by five sisters, Paola, Anna, Franca, Carla, and Alda. They brought new energy and ideas during the boom years that caused the brand to flourish.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Fendi First Original Store in Rome
First Original Store in Rome

Karl Lagerfeld Creative Director

In 1926 Fendi opened its historic boutique in the heart of Rome in via Borgognona. In 1965, the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld began. Lagerfeld is known for the way he transformed the concept of fur. He reinvented a garment that had traditionally been considered pompous, bulky, and not always easy to wear. With Lagerfeld as creative director, fur acquired a softness, wearability, reversibility, and became “fun fur”, a staple in the brand DNA that still exists today. At the same time, he searched for new materials, treatments, experimental techniques, and the rediscovery of forgotten and overlooked furs.

Fendi Woman Collection SS18
Woman Collection SS18

Over the years the Fendi bags became more functional. Leather was printed, dyed, and woven. The double FFs, in black and brown, were immediately recognizable and combined with stripes and squared patterns. The Selleria line, all completely handmade and in limited numbers, was created.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: 5 Fendi Sisters With Karl Lagerfeld
5 Fendi Sisters With Karl Lagerfeld

The Third Generation

In 1977 Fendi presents the Maison’s first ready-to-wear collection. In the early Ninties, the third generation, represented by Silvia Venturini Fendi, daughter of Anna, took place as Creative Director for accessories and men’s lines. She launched the Fendissime line, which included furs, sportswear, and accessories for a younger market. Two years later, they opened their first store in New York on Fifth Avenue. Meanwhile, the empire of the five sisters enriched itself with numerous licenses, including knitwear, bathing suits, jeans, umbrellas, watches, eyeglasses, ceramics, furnishings, and linens. In total, about twenty licenses, besides furs and leather goods.

At this time, about 80% of the production was exported. In Italy and abroad there were about 100 boutiques and 600 points-of-sale, with a turnover of about 600 billion liras, which put Fendi in fourth place among the brands of Italian prêt-à-porter. Fendi has created furs for both stage and screen, notably for Gruppo di Famiglia in un interno (1974) and The Innocent (1976) by Visconti, La vera storia della Dama delle Camelie (1980) by Bolognini, La Traviata (1983) by Zeffirelli, Interno Berlinese (1985) by Liliana Cavani, Carmen (1986), The Age of Innocence (1993) by Scorsese, and Evita (1996) by Parker.

Fendi Silvia Venturini with models, SS18 Man Collection
Silvia Venturini with models, SS18 Man Collection

LVMH Acquires Fendi

By the end of 1999, the company is at the center of many buying appetites. After endless sales rumors, the Maison ran under the control of Prada and Bernard Arnault, who was the owner of LVMH. LVMH, in a joint venture with Prada (Lvp Holding), acquires 51% of the company, but management remains in the hands of the Fendi family. Later on, Prada began selling its shares to LVMH, becoming in 2001 its majority shareholder.

The Success

In January 2001, Fendi collaborated in a joint venture with Aoi, a 30 years distributor of the brand in Japan. The new company, called Fendi Japan K: K, is on the market from the spring-summer 2001 collection.

Since 2002, the Men’s collection has been produced for 5 years by Ma.co. Company of So. Lather this year, they launched the made-to-order service for handmade leather goods including the famous Peekaboo bag. This gives the customers an opportunity to fully customize their bag, seen as a true luxury.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Salleria Collection Custom Service and Handmade
Galleria Collection: Custom Service and Handmade

Fendi continues to stay involved with contemporary events including the exhibit Goddess, at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, one of the most prestigious events in New York that spring, displays two dresses donated by the Fendi Archive in 2003.

Also, a special moment in April 2005 in Rome, the 18th-century palazzo Boncompagni Ludovisi becomes Palazzo Fendi. They build a new headquarters, and with its opening, the house celebrates their 80th anniversary. Later, in 2010 they launch kids wear and Fendi Home.

In the year of 2007, Fendi staged an unforgettable fashion show at the Great Wall of China with 88 models and a 1,500-mile-long catwalk.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Fendi Fashion Show at the Great Wall of China
Fendi Fashion Show at the Great Wall of China

The opening of a new boutique in Paris in 2008, however, took place with a private concert of Amy Winehouse for just 400 guests.

The Recent Years

This Italian house continues to get involved with new project and innovations. In 2011, they were chosen, due to its common values of craftsmanship and tradition, to collaborate with the Maserati “GranTurismo Convertible”. It was overlooked by Silvia Venturini Fendi and featured materials created in various colors specifically for it. It had Fendi’s double F logo stitched into the seats, in the center of the 20-inch Trident design alloy wheels, and side sills.

In 2013 the group started the restoration work of the fountains in Rome with the Fendi For Fountains project. They began with the Trevi Fountain, and followed up with the Quattro Fontane. This showed how Rome and Fendi share a deep connection. Fendi is rooted in Rome, and has always been its muse. Later, in June 2013 they sign a contract with Safilo Group S.p.A. for the production and worldwide distribution of sunglasses and eye-glasses’ frames.

As for 2014, the brand took another step towards technology. Unveiling luxurious new headphones created in collaboration with Beats by Dr. Dre. The Fendi X Beats by Dr. Dre was announced in Fendi’s Men’s Spring/Summer 2015 fashion show in Milan. Later, the brand collaborated with Zaha Hadid to create a layered leather handbag, which was part of the 3Baguette Project, a collection of creations by famous UK-based women, to be auctioned to charity.

Fendi SS18 Man Collection
SS18 Man Collection

For the first time ever, the Maison uses drones in order to video record its fashion show in 2014. Later, the fashion house buys 49% of Taramax SA’s shares, a luxury-watches- specialized business. This action will allow them to have a more important presence in the luxury-watches market.

Fendi SS18 Man Collection
SS18 Man Collection

Celebrating 50 Years of Collaboration with Lagerfeld

In 2015, under the wings of Lagerfeld, Fendi presented their first “Haute Forrure” collection during couture week in Paris. Fendi’s internationally renowned line of fur helped to differentiate the brand form its competitors as one of the few designers with a full range of fur offerings.

Later, Fendi moved its headquarters into Palazzo Civilta Italiana, which was built in 1942, to celebrate the EXPO. Unfortunately, the event was never held, but the first floor of the new building has remained a dedicated space for contemporary art exhibitions.

Fendi SS17, Bags Special Shooting
SS17, Bags Special Shooting

In the same year, Fendi payed homage to its collaboration with Lagerfeld, celebrating his 50 years as creative director, with the book “Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld” featuring exclusive material telling an amazing story of heritage, creativity, and modernity. This is the longest relationship between a designer and a luxury fashion brand in the industry.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: The Book of Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld
The Book of Fendi by Karl Lagerfeld

In 2016 they completed the restoration and opening of Palazzo Fendi in Rome, on the corner of Via dei Condotti and Piazza di Spagna. The building hosts the Japanese multi-starred Zuma restaurant inside. At the 2nd floor, there is the Fendi Privé, a private apartment for celebrities, VIPs, and friends. At the 3rd floor, there is the Fendi Private Suites, which consists of 7 imperial suites.

For their 90th anniversary, on July 7, 2016 they host their haute couture A/W 2016/2017 fashion show at the Trevi fountain (Rome), whose restoration has been supported by the Roman maison. Also, they hosted an exhibition, Fendi Roma- The Artisans of Dreams, to explain the production process of the fur and creativity elements.

Mame Fashion Dictionary: Fendi Fashion Show at the Trevi Fountain
Fashion Show at the Trevi Fountain

Current Situation

Currently, the fashion house is performing strong with a turnover of more than €1 billion. With Pietro Beccari as chairman and CEO. Creative director’s Lagerfeld and Silvia continue to work side by side in the success of Fendi, remaining the only brand to have an in-house fur atelier.