Virgil Abloh reimagined the profile of a fashion designer, merging streetwear, music, and high fashion, and shattering glass ceilings as the first black creative director at Louis Vuitton.
Abloh died on Sunday at the age of 41, with few aware that he had been battling a rare form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, since 2019.
His partnership with Kanye West catapulted Abloh from the skate and DJ culture of Chicago to the heights of the fashion world, first with his own red-hot label Off-White, and then to the apex of the traditional luxury industry in Paris.
His cancer diagnosis came just a year after he was appointed as head of menswear for Louis Vuitton, becoming the first black person to take an artistic director role at a top French fashion house.
That did not stop him from maintaining a grueling schedule as he remolded the label in his image, merging streetwear, social media, and celebrity — while also moonlighting as a DJ and a furniture designer for IKEA.
“Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,” he was often quoted as saying, as he pulled in the influences from his youth to breathe new life into the catwalk