Fashion designer Virgil Abloh dies of cancer at 41
NEW YORK (AP) – Designer Virgil Abloh, a leading fashion executive hailed as the Karl Lagerfeld of his generation, has died of cancer. He was 41 years old.
Abloh’s death was announced on Sunday by luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) and label Off-White, the high-streetwear brand Abloh founded in 2013. Abloh was the artistic director of men’s fashion at Louis Vuitton .
“We are all shocked after this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom ”, declared Bernard Arnault, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, in a press release.
A statement from Abloh’s family on the creator’s Instagram account said Abloh was diagnosed two years ago with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare form of cancer in which a tumor occurs in the heart.
“He has chosen to wage his battle in private since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing many difficult treatments, while leading several important institutions that span fashion, art and culture,” the statement said.
In 2018, Abloh became the first black artistic director of men’s clothing at Louis Vuitton in the rich history of the French design house. A first-generation Ghanaian American whose mother a seamstress taught him to sew, Abloh had no formal training in fashion but had an engineering degree and a master’s degree in architecture.
Abloh, who grew up in Chicago, was often considered a Renaissance man in the fashion world. He moonlighted as a DJ. But in no time, he became one of the most acclaimed fashion designers. Abloh called himself “a creator”. He was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in 2018.
In 2009, Abloh met Kanye West – now called Ye – while working at a screen printing store. After he and Ye interned together at LVMH brand Fendi, Abloh was Ye’s creative director. Abloh served as artistic director of Ye-Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne” album in 2011, for which Abloh was nominated for a Grammy.
Abloh’s work with West has served as a model for future cross-border collaborations that combine high and low. With Nike, he teamed up with his label Off-White for a line of frenzied sneakers remixed with a variety of Helvetica styles and fonts. Abloh also designed furniture for IKEA, refillable bottles for Evian and Big Mac boxes for McDonald’s. His work has been exhibited at the Louvre, the Gagosian, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.
Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh and his children, Lowe and Gray.
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