First most important news about Off-White is that its designer Virgil Abloh showed up. He pointedly missed Off-Whiteʼs show in September in the Pompidou Center, but he was very much present inside the Carousel du Louvre on Wednesday morning, the first full day of menswear shows in the fall winter 2020 season in Paris.
The Off-White invitation read ‘Hurricane Warning’ in quotations marks, Abloh riffing again on his artistic mentor Marcel Duchamp. It featured a teenage girl in jeans and white t-shirt fighting off the attentions of an angry skeleton, beside which lay a mineral water bottle and an Aspirin-like box marked ‘Anything.’
A metaphor for the designer’s announcement last summer that he needed a break due to exhaustion perhaps? That is what most people believe in Paris. In Milan, however, they tend to think that his fatigue was more due to the bitter disappointment in not receiving any financial reward from FarFetchʼs $675 million acquisition of New Guards, the DJ-driven Italian fashion group that controls the long-term license of Off-White.
Whatever his emotions, Virgil certainly staged a first-rate show. Opening with a brilliant tap dancer, whose mic’d-up feet produced a wonderful series of beats and almost military tattoos as the first models appeared. Like the invitation, which had cut-out holes, much of the collection came Swiss-cheese style, from UK postal-box red double-breasted suits to a series of funky tops.
His opening looks included ponchos, finished at the sleeve by Virgil’s latest cool stunt, fabric ticket stubs at the cuff, which you know every cool dude will want. Ablohʼs education as a tailor also showed great progress. His elongated blazers hung flawlessly, as did the belted and minimalist Canadian trapper jackets.
Post-show there was an almighty scrum to get into the backstage, where a tiny American lady staffer yelling, ˝No press allowed!˝ and a half-dozen security guards fought back the mob of glistening-eyed fans.
In between posing for photos, Abloh opined, “I am in my own head space, but this is a culmination of a lot of work that I have seen. You know, I have been trying to make work that responds to my generation, and it feels like I am getting into a space where that is translating.”
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