Designer Virgil Abloh dead at 41

Written by Staff Writer

Virgil Abloh, the 41-year-old founder of two of the world’s most powerful luxury brands, has died of cancer.

The creative director and creative director of Louis Vuitton and Off-White died at the Lourdes Hospital in Paris.

Ahead of his death, Abloh was set to make his much-anticipated New York Fashion Week debut with Off-White at the US label’s show on Wednesday. The show has since been canceled.

Those close to the designer and the company he founded with Virgil Abloh said he died peacefully.

Abloh helped to bring streetwear to high fashion, a trend pioneered by Kanye West , who described Abloh as “the visionary behind it all.”

Abloh joined Louis Vuitton in 2015 as executive creative director — a role that gave him a greater stake in the running of the company.

Akbé previously curated Louis Vuitton’s annual women’s menswear show.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Virgil Abloh, who has contributed so much to the fashion industry,” Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, said in a statement posted on the brand’s Twitter account.

CNN Business reached out to Abloh’s representative, who confirmed the designer’s death.

‘Exceptionally good looking’

Burke will continue to lead the global fashion business, which Louis Vuitton has seen some slowdown recently, but revenues for the latest quarter were still up 7.7% to 1.63 billion euros.

Louis Vuitton has for years been fashion’s undisputed giant: It has a history of making the ultra-luxury available to the masses through collaborations, including with Adidas.

Afragard Perry, the man who shaped Djimon Hounsou’s runway look for the ‘New Jack Swing’ collection, often compared to the ’70s disco culture, was a favorite in the fashion world, a favorite of street style legend Kim Gordon. Perry said he was “particularly fond of Abloh’s moodboard art” and described him as “the only man who could make me look exceptionally good looking.”

Abloh was also one of the fashion industry’s most creative voices, firmly anchored in the streetwear trend that got his first start, at New York’s iconic boutique Opening Ceremony.

In 2009, Abloh was part of a collective of streetwear brands called Hecho, which was made famous in a hit 2006 Nike ad, “Olé.”

From there, he went on to create Off-White, a label he launched with Indonesian former ski instructor and Taiwanese art student Virgil Abloh in 2013.

“I have been so fortunate to meet hundreds of creative geniuses during my years here at @OUstyle,” he wrote on Twitter after news of his death was announced. “I feel blessed to have had some of the greatest mentors. Thank you to everybody for your love and light. I will miss you all very much.”

Emma Gannon contributed to this story.

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