Virgil Abloh is Louis Vuitton’s visionary artistic Director. He, at 41, succumbs to secret cancer treatment.

  • Virgil Abloh was Louis Vuitton’s first black artistic director. He died on Sunday, at the age of 41.
  •  He’s been privately battling cancer since a 2019 diagnosis of cardiac angiosarcoma
  • Louis Vuitton’s executive director Bernault Arnault said that they were all “shocked by this terrible news”. He called Abloh both a “genius designer” and a “visionary” 

After a long battle with cancer, Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton’s first black artistic director) has died at 41.

Privately, the fashion prodigy was battling angiosarcoma of the heart. He was finally diagnosed in 2019.

‘We are all shocked by this terrible news, Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom,’ Louis Vuitton executive director Bernault Arnault said in a statement. ‘The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow and we are all thinking of his loved ones after the passing of their husband, their brother, their father or their friend.’

The founder of Off-White had taken over the role from Kim Jones, the new Christian Dior menswear designer and his first men’s collection with Louis Vuitton is expected to be presented in June during Paris Men’s Fashion Week.

He said in conversation with The New York Times that he is ‘elated’ with his new position and ‘this opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams.

‘And to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start,’ Virgil said. However, who exactly is Virgil Abloh anyway?

Louis Vuitton has named Virgil Abloh as its new Artistic Director in a landmark appointment

Louis Vuitton announced the appointment of Virgil Abloh, its new Artistic director in a significant move

Born September 30, 1980 in Chicago. The first generation Ghanaian American Virgil Abloh was brought up in Rockford.

Abloh received his Masters of Architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology and then his undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin Madison in Civil Engineering.

Even though he didn’t have formal design training, his mom was a seamstress and taught him how to do it. Virgil was a graduate in 2003 when he met Kanye. He then went on to meet John Monopoly, his manager. Shortly after, Virgil was a part of the creative team.

Highlights in his career include the creation of the RSVP Gallery art and menswear boutique and as the Art Director for Jay Z and Kanye West’s 2011 album Watch the Throne. He was also nominated to the Grammy Award for Best Recording package.

Virgil had no training as a designer and he learned from his mother who was a seamstress

Virgil didn’t have any formal training and learned about designing from his mother, a seamstress.

When was Virgil Abloh first to create clothes?

Virgil may also have been inspired to launch his streetwear brand Off-White by working with Fendi Roma’s rappers before they started Pyrex Vision.

Speaking with the Times, he said that ‘for the last eight to ten years we’ve been having this conversation about what’s new, and for me, that has to do with making luxury relatable across generations.

‘The first thing I am going to do is define new codes. My muse has always been what people actually wear, and I am really excited to make a luxury version of that.’

A$AP Rocky and Travis Scott have worn the brand since its inception. Kylie Jenner has also worn it. Off-White also has partnered with brands such as Nike, Ikea and Sunglass Hut, Champion, Jimmy Choo and Timberland.

In 2015, Virgil was a finalist for LVMH’s Young Designers Prize which led to Abloh’s appointment as a creative director for the fashion house’s menswear. 

Alongside this, Virgil is also an international DJ, having played a number of shows in New York City, Miami and South Korea and had a residency at Las Vegas’s XS Nightclub. He will also be performing at this year’s Lollapalooza music festival.