VOGUE ORIGINAL POST

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A sharp-eyed observer walked into the sports hall where the Off-White show was being held, blinked at the checkerboard pattern on the floor and exclaimed, “Oh! Is this Virgil’s own take on the Louis Vuitton check?” The famous Vuitton Damier pattern wasn’t on Abloh’s mind at all, at least as far as he told it during a preview at the Off-White studio in Paris. The checked pattern was “crash derby race car culture. One of the things I grew up with in suburban America that’s been on the periphery of my vision. It’s a play on the checkered flag—the goal,” he said.

Racing and goals, you can see how they’re completely apt metaphors for the speedy ascent of Abloh himself, without even factoring in any deliberate or subconscious reference to his hailed tenure at Louis Vuitton menswear. This Off-White collection, he said, was “shining a mirror on my friends,” while stepping on the gas as far as moving things on for them design-wise. “The streetcar I rolled in was streetwear. But now it’s commonplace. I’m intrigued by the empowered woman who wants to dress in a feminine but chic way.”


In fact, if you scroll back through Off-White womenswear collections, it’s noticeable that one of Abloh’s signatures—besides his labeling of everything in quotation marks—is glamour and sexiness. While those qualities might not have been accepted by the mainstream before, they are very much front and center in everyone’s minds this season, what with all the sweeping volumes and strong-shouldered tailoring that’s surfacing everywhere. So there: When Abloh puts out giant A-line puffer coats and slick leather tailoring, it’s as a now fully acknowledged member of the general trend conversation. A difference being that a quintessentially Off-White version of a classic tuxedo suit is the seasonal serving of his underpants look: a cropped silver satin midriff-baring jacket with matching micro-shorts, accessorized with crystal gloves and a clutch bag.


There were a couple of day “suits” which did the same thing: long coats with matching shorts. What was less apparent was Abloh’s use of fabric as an embodiment of change. He said he’s been “leaping forward with taking fleece and jersey and cutting it so it has a very feminine, couture-like shape.” The draped, wrapped, asymmetrical dresses—shapes inspired by twisted car-crash sculptures—were cut from material “that’s native to Off-White, like hoodie and T-shirt fabric,” he said.



The finale, of course, had its now traditional drama, with friends of the house Karlie Kloss, the Hadid sisters, and Adut Akech sweeping to the finish line in super-billowy, leg-baring gowns. It’s the stuff of swathes of young girls’ fantasies to be able to go somewhere looking like that; princess dreams of the 21st century brought to life. “I have views on red carpet,” said Abloh. Who will be maneuvering the yards of that egg-yolk yellow train tethered to the swimsuit up the steps of the Met come May? Never fear: It shall go to the ball.

By SARAH MOWER