COLLABORATION

NIKE AND LOUIS VUITTON’S FAREWELL TO VIRGIL ABLOH

JUNE 2, 2022

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WORDS

by KRISTOPHER FRASER

PHOTOS

COURTESY of LOUIS VUITTON

Fashion designer and creative entrepreneur Virgil Abloh left behind a legacy worthy of fashion history. From creating his acclaimed streetwear label Off-White to becoming the first Black designer to be menswear director of Louis Vuitton, Abloh was legendary. He was also a master of collaborations known for working with everyone from Mercedes to Baccarat. 

One of his final collaborative acts before his all-too-soon passing was his collaboration between Louis Vuitton and Ike “Air Force 1.” Earlier this year, Sotheby’s collaborated with Louis Vuitton to auction 200 special edition pairs of the Louis Vuitton and Nike “Air Force 1” by Virgil Abloh sneakers with Louis Vuitton pilot cases. Proceeds will benefit the Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund, which in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund, supports the education of academically promising students of Black, African American, or African descent.  

A tribute to Virgil Abloh’s work with Louis Vuitton and Nike in the form of a grand exhibition in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood succeeded the auction. In total, Abloh reimagined Nike’s Air Force 1’s in 47 different styles meant to accompany the spring 2022 collection, his last collection for Louis Vuitton.  

Virgil Abloh's tribute exhibition in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood.

The exhibit brought spectators into Abloh’s world in a unique way. The front featured a giant screen displaying videos of the sneakers being made. The back of the exhibit featured a giant treehouse with the turntables Abloh used when he was DJ and various Louis Vuitton accessories in a display case underneath. The walls also featured one of Abloh’s mood boards when he was conceptualizing the Louis Vuitton and Nike collection. In addition, a little over a dozen actual pairs of the sneakers were on display for the treehouse.  

Throughout the exhibit, there were interactive screens where viewers could move the 3D shoe images by hand via augmented reality. The floor was also done in LED to repeat the LV monogram pattern. Quotes were also seen throughout the exhibit, such as “Are you a tourist or a purist?” 

Only nine of the 47 styles entered production, with price tags ranging from $2750 to $3450. If you think that price tag is steep, the expectation is they will go for far beyond that on resale and auctions.  

 

R.I.P. to the king, Virgil Abloh.