Creative Force: Off-White’s Virgil Abloh Dead at 41

His unique take on minimalist clothing styles found new fans from Kanye West to Rihanna. And, the self-taught New York City-based designer, Virgil Abloh, had a knack for bringing his swagger and style to…

Creative Force: Off-White’s Virgil Abloh Dead at 41

His unique take on minimalist clothing styles found new fans from Kanye West to Rihanna. And, the self-taught New York City-based designer, Virgil Abloh, had a knack for bringing his swagger and style to those who came in contact with him. He is survived by his wife, Renata.

“I remember my first time meeting Virgil, he was doing a Pilates workout and I made a comment that made me laugh so hard,” Ralph Lauren, Virgil’s former boss, told The Fashion Network. “I heard him say, ‘I’m making a comeback.’”

Abloh, 41, founded Off-White in 2012 after graduating from New York University with a degree in graphic design. In a statement to WWD, Virgil Abloh’s Off-White label said he had passed away Thursday after a four-year battle with cancer.

“He brought pure pleasure to everyone he met and touched. Virgil will always be an inspiration to me,” fashion designer Yayoi Kusama, whom he befriended, told WWD.

Abloh’s work was well-received by the outside world. He was named the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s women’s collection in 2017, where he put his spin on classic LV bag silhouettes. He is currently the brand’s vice president of design.

His signature avant-garde look — much of which consisted of laser-cut garments and sneakers and other ensembles resembling surfboards, boogie boards and skateboards — was seen by audiences worldwide on “the 9 Most” list in November for his Versace Spring-Summer 2016 campaign.

His work with Dior Fragrance allowed him to debut a campaign by September 2015 and by October he was starring in other campaigns. And his work with Kanye West, where he designed for his Yeezy line, was especially admired. West tweeted: “Man, you would be a billionaire in five minutes if you started now dude…Tried to call my dad and the line was cancelled. Gutted. One of the brightest and kindest humans I have ever known.”

Lady Gaga joined in the tributes for the architect of his sleek, minimalist look. Gaga shared a photo of her posing with Abloh in 2016: “I just wanted to say that I love you so much, Virgil. We were so lucky to get to be friends and spend time together. You are so inspiring and always remind me to follow my heart, dream big, and always stay true to myself. You inspired me so much. RIP.”

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