Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly
Jacquie Myburgh Chemaly
Image: Supplied

Ed's letter | #ModernLuxury

As we put the finishing touches to this issue of Wanted, one of the world’s most famous luxury maisons, Louis Vuitton, has just announced the appointment of a new menswear designer. His name is Virgil Abloh.

Abloh becomes the first black designer to take the reins at what is arguably one of the most powerful fashion brands in the world. The headlines are understandably focusing on the fact that Abloh joins a rare club of black men to head a luxury brand: Olivier Rousteing is at Balmain, and Ozwald Boateng was previously at Givenchy. As with the appointment of Edward Enninful at the helm of British Vogue, the conversation is all about fashion entering an era of greater inclusivity and diversity.

I believe it’s less of an era, and more of a sea change, driven by a new generation of creatives who are rejecting traditional definitions of fashion, culture, and identity, and are setting an entirely new agenda. This time it’s about having utter conviction and confidence in your personal choices and never doing anything simply to please someone else.

Of course, I’m also influenced by the fact that the same week that Abloh’s appointment was announced, at the March for our Lives in the US, children as young as nine years old stood up to say “never again” and plead for safety in their schools. There is a youthquake of note on the rise, as a new generation rejects the choices their parents have made. It is into this sad, broken world that Abloh comes as a force of creativity that will represent the new mood behind this conversation.

I just loved watching the video that the New York Times has published, showing Abloh in his Off-White studio in Milan. It’s everything you would expect from a luxury design HQ, complete with moodboards and house model.

WATCH | Virgil Abloh in his Off-White studio

Virgil Abloh is creative director of Off-White and menswear designer for Louis Vuitton

But Abloh doesn’t have an office of his own. He works on the street, on his cellphone, flies eight times a week, and says he is “directly pointed to this generation that hasn’t been messaged luxury yet”.

So, just as post-Second World War Christian Dior changed fashion with its full-skirted New Look, I believe that with Abloh’s appointment we are here again. Hashtag Modern Luxury.


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