Virgil Abloh might be the most famous creative director in the United States. He hones Kanye West’s creative visions, schools millions of followers through tweets and ‘grams, and lured Kendall Jenner into a rare front-row appearance at his Off-White show in Paris. (She sat next to Anna Wintour, who attended for the very first time.) And though Givenchy denies he’s in talks to become their next creative director, it’s clear that someday soon, Abloh will be running a luxury brand besides his own.
After Bella Hadid and Hailey Baldwin walked down the runway — it was covered with leaves and dotted with real hanging birch trees — we zoomed backstage behind Alicia Keys (who pronounced the filmy dresses and plaid suits “incredible”) to ask about the future.
Before Bella Hadid came down the catwalk, there was a lecture on the creative process blaring through the speakers. Did you write it?
I did! I was going to speak it in my own words, too. We had it all recorded, until I changed it at the last minute. I just kept listening to my own voice, and I found it really annoying!
That’s funny, considering you work with recording artists…
Well, this is juxtaposing against their profession, but saying something that parallels it. We’re all making art, it’s just in our own way. Personally, I don’t think my voice needed to be the one booming down the runway today. I found a better way to go.
Your collection is way more tailored this season, with suiting and fur. Is that a better way to go, too?
For our girl, yes. I was thinking of a woman who is 22. She’s glad nobody’s carding her at the bar anymore. She wants people to think she’s 28.
Crap, I’m in my 30s.
Hey, I’m 36! And I’m over this preoccupation with looking as young as possible. You know, some brands, they want the models to look so young. I don’t want that at all, and I’m also not thinking our girl wants to wear the shortest skirt possible; that’s not sexy to her. I feel like teenagers wear things specifically because their moms wouldn’t wear it. But our woman will. She’ll pair it with different shapes, but she’s not trying to just look “sexy.”
You had a few pieces of metallic, quilted silver on the runway…
My friend A$AP [Rocky] calls it “silverwear.” It’s flame-retardant and insulated. I’m really into sleeping bags, and this was how to do it.
And you’re making plain white women’s sneakers for Fall. That seems like a big deal, considering you have so many streetwear fans.
White sneakers are the new code of professional youth. You don’t have to wear a suit with heels anymore; you shouldn’t. Younger businesswomen are getting things done in these.
So do you hope these replace everyone’s Stan Smiths?
Well, yeah! (Laughs.) You know, I love sneakers, because they’re a vintage thing that’s reappropriated for a new time. And the nature of that is, your sneakers keep changing, because you do.
Is there anything else about to happen for you in Paris that you want to talk about?
Anything else in the future? No. The only future I know anything about is my next collection for Off-White. I swear I don’t have anything else that I know of at the moment!