Englewood Barbie, Lauryn Hill at MCA Chicago

December 7, 2021
Fashion trailblazer Virgil Abloh was remembered Monday by family, friends and A-list stars who stepped out in droves to mourn the late Louis Vuitton director, who died Nov. 28 at 41 after a private battle with a  "rare, aggressive form of cancer."
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Fashion trailblazer Virgil Abloh was remembered Monday by family, friends and A-list stars who stepped out in droves to mourn the late Louis Vuitton director, who died at 41 last month after a private battle with a “rare, aggressive form of cancer.” 

Ye (formerly known as Kanye West), Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, A$AP RockyDrake, Kendall Jenner, Lauryn Hill, Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator were among the celebrities who gathered at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art for Abloh’s hometown memorial service, according to photos and videos shared by attendees on social media. 

The outside of the museum was adorned with a banner that read “Abloh,” while the inside was filled with white, pink and brown flowers. Hill sang and Tyler, the Creator and Abloh’s sister, Edwina Abloh, gave emotional speeches. 

“All these different people – colors, ages, backgrounds, religions – all came for one man,” Tyler, the Creator said. “That’s what he did: He brought, like, the illest people together.” 

Obituary:Virgil Abloh, trailblazing Louis Vuitton director, dies after private cancer battle at 41

Aleta Clark, a community activist known on social media as Englewood Barbie who worked closely with Abloh, also highlighted his unique ability to draw attention and adoration from so many notable artists. 

“I was touched that he reached these people & they pulled up for him… everyone in that room was hand picked,” she wrote on Instagram, adding “everyone showed mad love to each other and it wasn’t as sad I projected it would be… people process death differently.. I was all broken up like damn another person that truly believed in me is dead.. then I looked up like nah… virgil is still very much alive.”

She added: “virgil truly reached the world.. he lead with love & everyone felt it.”

‘A once in a generation creative mind’: Kanye West, Kim Kardashian more mourn designer Virgil Abloh

“Virgil was here,” read a pin Drake showed off on Instagram. “love you g,” he captioned the post.

Abloh, the artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear and the founder and CEO of fashion house Off-White, had been privately fighting cardiac angiosarcoma, which blocks blood flow to the heart, according to a post shared to his verified Instagram account. 

“He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture,” Abloh’s Instagram read. 

He was a pioneer in the fashion world, serving as the first Black artistic director to lead Louis Vuitton menswear, just one of two people of color in charge of a major fashion house (along with Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing) at the time of his appointment in 2018. The same year, he was named a Time 100 Most Influential People honoree. 

Abloh was also a frequent celebrity collaborator – he at one point interned at Fendi with Ye, which sparked a longtime collaboration with the rapper. Ye honored Abloh at the end of his livestreamed Sunday Service performance the day of his passing with a title card that read “In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Donda.” Abloh also designed album covers for artists including Kid Cudi, A$AP Rocky and Lil Uzi Vert.

Last week, Louis Vuitton’s first ever U.S. fashion show turned into a somber yet whimsical tribute to Abloh days after his death.

The Miami menswear event, an unofficial kickoff to the prestigious Art Basel fair, had been in the works for months. Guests were ferried by yachts to the star-studded affair held on an island. Celebrity attendees, including Kardashian, Ye and their daughter North, Bella Hadid, Ricky Martin, Rauw Alejandro, Joe Jonas, Maluma and Pharrell, arrived in sleek LV monogrammed silver speedboats.

Kid Cudi and Erykah Badu performed at an after-party. “Hey Virgil,” she yelled at the start of her set, later saying “we want to see you fly.”

Contributing: The Associated Press



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