Tuesday night marked Virgil Abloh‘s final runway show for Louis Vuitton, with audiences turning out in Miami to celebrate the groundbreaking creatives work. Dubbed Virgil Was Here, the posthumous runway presentation showed Louis Vuitton’s SS22 collection in a way only Virgil could have foreseen, featuring a mixture of his iconic archival pieces alongside new creations, combining signature design aspects and intriguing colour palettes.
At the show’s entrance, Louis Vuitton erected an enormous statue of Abloh as a tribute to his legacy and a powerful reminder of his presence. Dressed in LV head to toe, clutching a monogram canvas and painted in a gradient spectrum, the structure leans into Virgil’s iconic LV catalogue.
The creative’s friends, family and colleagues lined the makeshift catwalk in Miami. Three of Abloh’s closest friends in Kanye West, Jerry Lorenzo and Don C were in attendance, alongside Kim Kardashian, Pharrell, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Kerwin Frost and many to witness the designer’s last collection.
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With the announcement of the posthumous show materialising in the form of a Virgil Was Here trailer, Abloh’s voiceover can be heard discussing a return to childhood wonderment. “I’ve been this focus, in terms of my art and creativity, of getting adults to behave like children again, that they go back into this sense of wonderment, they start to stop using their mind, and they start using their imagination.”
As the models, including Kid Cudi, Offset and Quavo, began to walk, it became clear that the quote would ring true with the upcoming collection. Abloh’s signature design motifs from throughout his career were reimagined in updated garments, alongside new designs specifically from the SS22 line-up.
A standout from the collection, a “VUITTON ROCKERS” sweater appeared alongside the longtime rumoured LV x Nike Air Force 1s. Tonal leather trench coats contrasted with high energy multicoloured jackets, displaying the versatility of Abloh’s vast and impressive back catalog. Each look was permeated with a sense of poignant nostalgia: Louis Vuitton’s classic silhouettes were reinterpreted with Virgil’s distinctive flair.
Abloh’s unique vision of ready-to-wear pieces was ever-present, materialising in glistening, gradient-hued suits. Virgil’s preoccupation with skate culture and constant drive for inclusivity was evident too, with many of the menswear looks featuring ruffled skirts and skateboard trunks. Louis Vuitton’s statement monogram appeared across numerous pieces, even reworking the brand’s previously plain oversized hockey gloves.
Virgil Abloh’s creative direction was significant, distinct and near-impossible to replicate. This collection exemplified his inclusive, boundary-pushing aesthetic and served as a poignant reminder to what the fashion and creative communities have lost: a true visionary.
As the show finished, Abloh’s LV design team members gathered on the stage to bid a final farewell to the icon. A last soundbite from Virgil played: “Life is so short that you can’t even waste a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do versus what you can do.”
Fireworks and a drone show followed—a fitting final scene for the fashion designer and entrepreneur. As I am writing this, I can’t help but notice not only the impact that Virgil Abloh had on the fashion, streetwear and sneaker community but myself, too. He carved out an entirely new lane for himself, giving young creatives newfound optimism to follow their passions.
Although Virgil Abloh has sadly passed, his legacy lives on. Watch his runway shows, read his articles or listen to his mixes. The wisdom that Abloh continuously delivers remains unbeaten. Do not pass up this opportunity to enjoy his work once more.
“VIRGIL WAS HERE”