Virgil Abloh was known as a trailblazing fashion designer, entrepreneur and artistic director. To his peers, colleagues and various stars spanning worlds of art, music and fashion, Abloh was known as a friend.
Friends, family and celebrities from all facets of the entertainment and design industries honored Abloh in touching tributes following the announcement made from his official Instagram account.
The post on Nov. 28 stated, “We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh, a fiercely devoted father, husband, son, brother, and friend.”
Abloh died at the age of 41.
The statement shares how the Off-White founder was diagnosed in 2019 with a rare and aggressive form of cancer called cardiac angiosarcoma.
In recent years, Abloh worked as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection and as the chief executive officer of his fashion label, Off-White.
“Through it all, his work ethic, infinite curiosity, and optimism never wavered. Virgil was driven by his dedication to his craft and to his mission to open doors for others and create pathways for greater equality in art and design,” the post reads.
When appointed back in 2018, Abloh became the first ever Black artistic director for Louis Vuitton, and one of the very few top fashion designers and directors at a major fashion house.
One of Abloh’s primary goals was noted in the loving tribute: “He often said, ‘Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself,’ believing deeply in the power of art to inspire future generations.”
Kendall Jenner, who said she “had the privilege of knowing Virgil,” wrote that “to battle his illness privately perfectly explains the type of man he was. He never wanted anyone to worry about him.” In her post, she continued, “we all need a little bit of Virgil in us. he leaves us with his influence, to create and change the world. you did just that Virg.”
Hailey Bieber, who worked with Abloh to design her custom wedding dress, shared her own tribute, writing how Abloh “changed the way” she looked at things in the fashion industry.
“Virgil completely changed the way I looked at street style and fashion, the way he looked at things inspired me deeply. I will never be able to fully express how grateful I am to have known him and worked with him, from walking on his runways to having him design my wedding dress and all the other amazing moments in between, I felt he was always rooting for me. He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once in a generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you Virgil. 🤍,” Bieber wrote.
Singer and songwriter Frank Ocean posted a series of two photos with the late designer who he called “a hero.” Ocean even shared a touching story about how much the designer meant to his late brother.
“When my brother passed I never said anything because it was way too much but he loved you and really looked up to you. He was going to fashion school and everything. He wanted to be a designer. My family was proud of you like you were our family,” Ocean said. “I know grief is love that you don’t get to express so this is an attempt at expressing it. Love you V. You’re a hero.”
Kim Kardashian shared the heart-wrenching statement, "God doesn't make mistakes. I know that but I still can't help but ask why? Why Virgil?! Why him so soon?"
Gigi Hadid also honored Abloh, writing, “He was 1 of 1. His kindness and energetic generosity left a lasting impression on every life he touched— he made everyone feel seen and special. He will be deeply missed, cherished, and celebrated by me and all the people and industries that have been lucky enough to work around & know the true supernova behind this man.”
His fellow fashion designers also honored the late artist.
Donatella Versace called him a “fashion superstar,” and said she is “lost for words.
Kim Jones, artistic director of Dior’s menswear and artistic director of Fendi’s womenswear, shared a tribute to his dear friend and colleague in the industry. “So sad to hear about the passing of dear Virgil, one of the kindest people you could meet,” he wrote.
“I am so sorry to read this. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. May you Rest In Peace and Power dear Virgil,” Marc Jacobs wrote.
LVMH, the parent company of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and many other high-fashion brands, recently bought a 60% stake in Abloh’s brand, Off-White, allowing him to share his artistic talents spanning beyond the fashion industry.
“We’re all shocked," LVMH chief executive officer Bernard Arnault shared. “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom.”
“He paved the way for future generations,” Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO, Michael Burke wrote.
Kanye West, a long-time friend and colleague of Abloh's, gave a heartwarming tribute to Abloh with a choir at his Sunday Service. A piece of the tribute was posted to his Instagram account, which has since been deleted. West conducted the choir as they sang a cover of Drake’s “God’s Plan,” and Adele’s “Easy on Me,” followed by a message posted to the screen: “In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda," referring to West's album.
Actor and model Brooke Shields, who appeared on “Hoda and Jenna” Monday morning wearing one of his designs, got teary eyed at the mention of Abloh. “What a loss,” she told Hoda and Jenna.
She shared that she picked the dress weeks ago and debated wearing it after hearing the tragic news of his death. She eventually thought of it "as a tribute" to his talent.
Many more fashion designers, celebrities and stars paid tribute to the pioneering designer, including Drake, Bella Hadid, Kris Jenner, Idris Elba, Olivier Rousteing, Pharell, Victoria Beckham, Karlie Kloss, Stella McCartney, Martha Stewart and many more.
And in an Instagram post on Sunday, Louis Vuitton announced a tribute runway show honoring the “life and legacy of a creative genius.” The event will take place in Miami on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m.