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Virgil was here: Louis Vuitton's Art Basel show event becomes a tribute to Virgil Abloh

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

1 Dec 2021

Fashion

Image from Louis Vuitton YouTube channel

Louis Vuitton transformed a planned runway show into Virgil Abloh’s memorial.

Art Basel in Miami Beach was to be the setting of Louis Vuitton’s latest event, connecting a well to-do clientele with its latest brand offerings as well as announce a new menswear store opening. Instead the show, which had been planned by Virgil Abloh and his team for many weeks, became a tribute and memorial for the designer, who tragically died on November 2th from a secret battle with cancer.

The Business of Fashion reported Louis Vuitton spared no expense and no detail for its Miami Beach event, which is a unique locale and melting pot of wealthy South Americans, many of whom have second homes in the area. A monogrammed Louis Vuitton carpet was put in place to lead the way to the shuttle yachts, as guests were transported by boat.

The show was opened by Louis Vuitton chief executive officer Michael Burke who reminisced meeting Abloh in Tokyo 15 years ago. He said Abloh was like a son to him, they even spoke of the show’s details the day before he died.

In attendance were friends, collaborators, industry titans and celebrities, including Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Kerby Jean-Raymond, LVMH chairman and chief executive officer Bernard Arnault and his family, Edward Enninful and many others came to pay tribute and celebrate the extraordinary achievements of Abloh, who went from studying Civil Engineering in Wisconsin to helming one of the world’s more prestigious luxury houses.

Virgil was here

The show, called Virgil was Here, changed from its original format of to show the Louis Vuitton SS22 collection to a tribute celebrating the creative genius, visionary, and disruptor that Abloh was. The 82 looks highlighted both the collection that was released on video last June as well as new pieces styled by Ib Kamara. Louis Vuitton’s design team collectively took a bow to a standing ovation at the end of the show.

“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. 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.” - Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s Chairman and CEO

ART BASEL
LOUIS VUITTON
VIRGIL ABLOH