“It’s good to be back,” declared Virgil Abloh, striding into the first of a string of appointments during men’s fashion week in Paris, where he presented the women’s pre-fall collection for his Off-White label.
During his enforced absence last season for unspecified “health considerations,” the label he founded in 2013 underwent a total re-branding. Known for its diagonal stripes, arrow cross logo and quotation marks, Off-White has a new logo that shows a sinking person’s hands and face below the words “Off” and “White.”
If you didn’t know about it already, the new visual identity was plastered all over the clothes, in the form of prints and oversize labels punctured with Swiss cheese-style holes, which also appeared on handbags.
“I’ve always been about evolving the initial idea,” Abloh said. “It’s super risky because as fashion brands work, you can be very profitable by just sitting still and milking an idea.”
In terms of the clothes themselves, the collection was more of an evolution than a revolution, riffing off his established idea of a mother and daughter sharing a wardrobe. It included smart tailored jackets and coats with exaggerated Margiela-inspired shoulders; an acid-printed puffer coat, and a faux mink coat and skirt.
“In the last two year, the best-selling garment on the women’s side has not been a T-shirt or a hoodie — it’s been a tailored jacket,” said Abloh, commenting on the evolution of the streetwear brand into full-fledged designer label.
“While I’m a young brand, the idea is that in 30 years, this merger between streetwear without quotes and with quotes equals a benchmark that’s like, ‘Oh, that’s very Off-White,’” he added.
For the time being, the collection is still too reliant on homage, including a blatant rip-off of the viral Khaite cardigan and bralet worn by Katie Holmes. The best way to tell if an outfit is Off-White remains the label.