On November 28, 2021, the fashion industry lost a visionary and disruptor, Virgil Abloh. The designer served as creative director of his elevated streetwear brand Off-White and joined Louis Vuitton as creative director of menswear in 2018. At the age of 41, Abloh left behind a momentous legacy, and last night, friends, family, and admirers gathered in Brooklyn to celebrate the opening of Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1, an exhibition conceived by the late designer.
Though tucked away in the weeds of Brooklyn, the warehouse housing the exhibition is hard to miss. Just outside, an enormous sculpture of a Louis Vuitton model in a handstand position greets guests with a bang. The entire building is done up in Abloh’s Louis Vuitton palette of rich oranges and reds, transforming the location entirely.
As a longtime collaborator with Nike, Abloh’s creative pursuits with the athleticwear company had already reached insurmountable heights of success. In February 2021, Sotheby’s announced record-breaking numbers in the sale of fashion items; a lot of 200 LV x Nike shoes went for $25.3 million dollars.
As you enter the exhibition itself, you are transported right away into the mind of Abloh with a sign that reads “Dream Now.” In the fully white space, there are Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1’s along the walls. Upstairs in a house recreated by Abloh’s team, you can find the designer’s working mood board for the collaboration just as he left it. Placed on it are photos of graffiti, references to his past work, insoles, tracings, and more evidence of what inspired his vision to bring the shoe to life.
Amongst the buzzing crowd of fashion fluent attendees, Louis Vuitton was the look of choice, to no surprise. Guests included Vashtie, Imaan Hammam, Samuel Ross, and Futura; a shortlist of individuals Abloh collaborated with. The evening closed with performances by producer Metro Boomin and Atlanta rapper 21 Savage, who Abloh openly celebrated and gave a platform. “Virgil’s infinite understanding of optimism and design having the power to connect a multitude of generational leaders will never be forgotten and is simply the beginning of a new era of design, fashion, and this generation’s way of communication,” Samuel Ross of A-Cold -Wall tells vogue.
Abloh’s multi-layered way of thinking and unshakeable desire to live out every version of his dreams are what continues to bring creators together in his name. Today marks the official opening of the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 exhibition by Virgil Abloh, where guests can enter free of charge until May 31.