Virgil Abloh is a buzzy figure in the new brotherhood of women’s streetwear designers, whose other members include Shayne Oliver from Hood by Air, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School, and Scott Studenberg and John Targon of Baja East. They trade off of a cool cachet that has more to do with their personal image than design innovation. Capitalizing on the current is the idea.
No arguments from Abloh, who ascended into the high-fashion ranks as Kanye West’s creative director. During a preview of the spring collection at the Hôtel de Pourtalès, Abloh noted that his freshly shot look-book images were “in a way, more important than the clothes. It speaks to what this brand is…[our girl] has that sort of lifestyle — comfort with her own closet, is independent, but also I’m sure she’s looking for a boyfriend or has one…crazy. It’s unique now, so I’m trying to define it.”
Abloh’s working definition had enough character to create a lineup of customized basics punctuated by referential Gothic gear that was nonetheless interesting. He cut up, cropped and resewed sweatshirts, adding fringe and emblazoning them with “Nebraska,” which he considers “a name for nowhere,” where Big-10 football is the big culture. He could relate as a graduate of University of Wisconsin. Sweats and T-shirts were worn under athletic jackets made of sheer white mesh, so the graphics shone through, and styled with the collection’s most directional item: a loose-fitting pair of crepe pants and a long pleated skirt that were one piece. In Abloh’s words, “Commercial items, but worn in a different way, is what I’m suggesting. It makes for a younger approach.”