On Monday 28th February 2022, Off-White paid a final tribute to its founder Virgil Abloh, who passed away last November, with a three-part collection that honoured the references showcased by the Afro-American fashion designer, DJ and designer throughout his collections and collaborations. The celebration-like event featured superstars Rihanna and A$ap Rocky on the front row as well as producer Pharrell Williams, football players Marco Verrati and Paul Pogba, actress Tracee Ellis Ross and supermodel Carla Bruni, while on the catwalk, Serena Williams walked alongside Bella and Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and her daughter Kaia Gerber, Kendall Jenner and Karen Elson.
"Share the codes... share the cheat codes. A lot of us have had to figure it out ourselves... that's where we go wrong. The more of us that learn the codes, the stronger we are," Pharrell Williams' voice chanted in the Palais Brongnart turned into a baroque spaceship with a sublime crystal chandelier in its centre. These words echo Virgil Abloh's ambition to not only bring streetwear to the world of luxury, but also to open the doors of fashion to young racialized designers.
In the first two chapters of the collection, the focus was on ready-to-wear, with many items inspired by the world of skiing. Here, the tailoring championed by Virgil Abloh met trapper hats, XXL knits, oversize down jackets and moonboots, while fake fur coats and small shearling-like jackets warmed up outfits composed of cargo trousers, pedal-pushers and miniskirts. Pursuing Virgil Abloh's habit of enhancing his pieces with printed words, jackets were decorated with some of the designer's iconic quotes, further drawing his community around his avant-garde vision.
The third part of the collection was divided into 28 couture looks, echoing the founder's recent desire to join this exclusive world through streetwear. Bella Hadid in a wedding dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves and trainers, pumps in hand opened the show. Followed by oversize creations in pleated tulle, already spotted in previous collections, combined with tee-shirts with playful prints, varsity jackets or message tops. While tee shirts and exaggerated attitudes gave an edge to dresses with architectural cuts in shiny or glittery fabrics. And to close the show, an extraordinary yeti-like fluffy look or a rigid glittery dress –which would be perfect on Rihanna. The XXL velvet suit was an obvious addition, in black or electric blue, while Naomi Campbell in an ultra-long coachman's coat with blue velvet trousers illuminated by a crystal bib necklace delighted us with her magnetic presence.