The news on Sunday of Virgil Abloh‘s death this weekend came as a shock to the world, the fashion community, and even some who knew the designer and multi-hyphenate talent well. Just two short days later, Louis Vuitton took what was originally planned as a client-facing re-showing of a collection originally presented in June on film, and turned it into an homage to a true titan of the industry. Speaking of mythological allusions, the set at the Miami Marine Stadium, which guests arrived at by boat, featured a god-sized statue of Abloh set across from a hot air balloon emblazoned with the LV logo.
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“Virgil Was Here” in bold red lights streaked against the sky, written out by an animated paper plane. They’re three simple words that encapsulate an indelible truth—Abloh’s vast influence can never be quantified but it will forever be felt. His impact on the industry and the culture, and his ability to translate his vision to the world, will be an ongoing legacy. Celebrating that legacy in Florida last night was 1,500 people, including the Arnault family, close friend Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Ricky Martin, DJ Khaled, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Venus Williams, Pharrell Williams, as well as editors, stylists, and other friends of the brand.
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Kid Cudi and Offset walked in the 72-look show, which showed distinct ’90s raver influences and included 10 looks not originally presented in June. It began with a speech by Michael Burke, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, who first invited Abloh to intern with Kanye West at Fendi over a decade ago. “The deeply moving show we are about to see is born out of an idea Virgil and I first discussed three years ago… It is based around the traditional coming of age narrative…This idea.. was important to Virgil because inspiring and empowering younger generations defined who he was. He used the platform he had to break boundaries, to open doors, to shed light on his creative passions, art, design, music, and of course, fashion, so that everybody could see inside…”
A recording of Abloh’s voice also went out to the crowd. Speaking to his creative process and the coming of age theme of the show, he said that children come to a point where “they reach a sense of wonderment and stop using their mind and start using their imagination.” If Abloh taught the world anything, it’s the power of imagination. Without a doubt, Virgil was here.
This article originally appeared in Harper’s BAZAAR US