Louis Vuitton has named Virgil Abloh its new menswear artistic director, with his first show taking place at Paris Fashion Week this June.
“Having followed with great interest Virgil’s ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today,” Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO said in a statement shared on Instagram today. “His sensibility towards luxury and savoir-faire will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton menswear into the future”.
“It is an honour for me to accept the position of men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the house are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times,” Abloh – who will continue to work on his Off-White label – said of his first major appointment.
37-year-old Abloh’s profile has risen steadily since he first met Blake as a Fendi intern alongside long-time collaborator Kanye West in 2006 and his appointment marks a more consumer-lead shift for Louis Vuitton and its menswear line. Since the announcement that Kim Jones – a friend of Abloh – would step down from the role in January, Abloh has remained a frontrunner in the speculation over who would succeed.
A keen collaborator, Off-White and Abloh have partnered with Jimmy Choo, Nike and soon Ikea, which is likely to permeate at Louis Vuitton, as doubt Abloh’s hybrid ability to bring together the worlds of luxury fashion and streetwear will take centre stage.
Alexandre Arnault – the son of LVMH CEO, Bernard Arnault and co-chief executive at Rimowa – was quick to take to his own social channels to share the news: “I am proud to welcome this great friend and talent to the group, and look forward to all the amazing stuff he’s going to achieve.” Arnault concluded by revealing news of a Rimowa x Off-White collaboration arriving this summer.
Ghanaian-American Abloh who was raised in Illinois’s appointment makes him – alongside Olivier Rousteing at Balmain – one of the few black designers to head up a storied French house.