The fashion industry is still reeling from the death of legendary designer and visionary Virgil Abloh at just 41 years old. The boundary-smashing artist forged a path for Black designers, turning fashion into an expression of social justice and change. Now, one unseen collection remains of Abloh’s legacy, and it will take the stage this week at Art Basel Miami Beach. Abloh’s final collection is moving forward, “per his wishes.”
It’s hard to believe that this is the last gift the world will receive from Abloh, and it’s all the more precious for that fact. French fashion house Louis Vuitton announced that the designer’s last collection would be moving forward as planned on November 30 at 5:30PM ET. Abloh’s final show is menswear Spring/Summer 2022, and will bring the same legendary vision and thought-provoking expression that Abloh is known for.
Michael Burke, LV’s Chairman and CEO, shared on Instagram, “It is with profound sorrow that I learned of the passing of Virgil Abloh. Virgil was not only a friend, great collaborator, creative genius, visionary and disruptor, but also one of the best cultural communicators of our times. He paved the way for future generations. As a devoted supporter of his community through his charities and passions, he was an eternal optimist who believed anything was possible. In this same spirit, we at Louis Vuitton will proudly continue to celebrate his legacy with a final show in Miami, per his wishes.”
Burke went on to add, “I am honored to have called him my friend. My deepest thoughts are with his wife, children, parents, family and the entire community that was touched by his greatness.”
The fashion industry was rocked by news of Abloh’s death, and it may never be the same again without his vision. Abloh has inspired a generation, making people pause and think, asking them to reframe their assumptions. Fans everywhere have reacted with shock and heartache at the news that Abloh had passed, leaving behind a legacy too big for one man.
Abloh’s family made a statement on the artist’s Instagram page, reading, “We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend. He is survived by his loving wife Shannon Abloh, his children Lowe Abloh and Grey Abloh, his sister Edwina Abloh, his parents Nee and Eunice Abloh, and numerous dear friends and colleagues.
For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma. He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.
Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design. He often said, ‘Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,’ believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”
Art Basel Miami Beach 2021
Abloh’s last collection takes off as part of Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, the world’s playground for contemporary art and modern artistic expression. Aside from the tribute to Abloh and his final collection, this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach offers some of the following:
- “Wynwood Walls: The permanent art installation celebrated the world over announced their theme this year would be, ‘Agents of Change.’ The mural installation is adding 13 new pieces from globally-renowned artists.
- Chanel Jungle Plaza: It’s the 100th anniversary of the brand’s iconic fragrance, so to celebrate they’re creating a labyrinthine, multi-sensory experience under the guidance of artist Es Devlin. The installation centers on a massive sculpture, flanked by 1,000 trees. The trees will be planted around Miami after the festival concludes.
- RIMOWA: The German luggage company associated with a minimalist metal chic is debuting its ‘As Seen By’ line which reinvents its classic lines and shapes through the eyes of artists.
- The Confidante: This iconic hotel is teaming up with the Museum of Graffiti to create a massive skatepark installation in the hotel’s backyard from the hands of female graffiti artists, activists and skaters from around the world. They will host skate demonstrations, art sales and a female empowerment panel.
- American Express Platinum Studio: A place for visitors to unwind, set up just outside of Miami’s EDITION hotel. It’s an immersive place to unwind with shoppable art pieces throughout.
- Hästens Grand Vividus: Hästens is unveiling its $500K Grand Vividus Bed. Guests can call ahead to schedule ‘Sleep Spa Basel Breaks’ if you need a place to lie down – on ‘the world’s most comfortable bed.’”
It’s undeniable that Abloh’s death has changed the tone of this year’s Art Basel, making it both more heartbreaking and more important than ever. The world will never again see another Abloh collection – unless he has notes hidden somewhere, which we’re secretly hoping for. So for now, all we can do is embrace the last gift he has to share with the world – and feel thankful we have his art to look back on.