Kanye West rumored to replace Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton

Yet there’s not enough evidence that Ye will once again become Louis Vuitton Don.

British tabloid The Sun has suggested Kanye West is already being tapped to replace Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton, less than two weeks after the news of the late designer’s death. “[Kanye] is being tipped to take over from Virgil Abloh,” The Sun reported on December 8. “The pair are said to have masterminded the move… before Virgil’s death aged just 41.”

“They shared a similar vision and now Kanye feels he owes it to Virgil to continue his work at Louis Vuitton,” continued the paper’s sole anonymous source — who isn’t reported to work for Louis Vuitton, its parent company LVMH, or Kanye himself. Those who are actually employed by the rapper haven’t responded to requests for comment, reports other British tabloid The Daily Mail. Given the lack of evidence, as well as the disrespectful timing, the rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. Until more trustworthy news emerges, there’s no way to tell who will replace Abloh as Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director.

AN UNLIKELY (AND UNTIMELY) MOVE — It’s true that, in the past, Ye had seemed envious of Abloh’s role: The rapper once said he felt the position should’ve been his, considering his past LV footwear designs and nickname “Louis Vuitton Don.” Yet as a close friend of the designer, Kanye quickly supported Abloh and his ongoing success. At the end of Virgil’s first Louis Vuitton show, the two embraced in a tearful, celebratory hug.

With the release of DONDA, new Adidas Yeezy designs, and Yeezy’s Gap collaboration, this year has also been one of Ye’s busiest. The rapper may not want to take on another role, especially considering he passed on similar opportunities at Givenchy and Bottega Veneta. If anything, West would assist his friend Demna, creative director at Balenciaga — owned by LVMH’s competitor, Kering — as the brand behind most of his (and his ex-wife, Kim Kardashian’s) looks.

LET’S ASK LV — And in news directly from a trustworthy source, Louis Vuitton chairman Michael Burke told WWD that the remaining LV design team is capable of planning the luxury house’s Summer 2022 runway show without a replacement creative director. “[The staff] don’t have to worry about June,” said Burke, suggesting that the search for Abloh’s successor would be a long, thoughtful process.

West may be involved in Louis Vuitton’s search for a new artistic director, but the brand is likely consulting him on potential hires, rather than offering him the job itself. Either way, it seems LV won’t have an answer for us soon.

As the world remembers Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton has announced its upcoming show — Abloh’s final work as the brand’s artistic director — would be dedicated to the late designer.

The Spring/Summer 2022 collection, named “VIRGIL WAS HERE,” will be presented in Miami. “In loving memory of Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton pays tribute to the life and legacy of a creative genius with a presentation of his SS22 collection in Miami,” the brand announced on social media with a two-minute long clip. The brief video depicts a child riding a bicycle through the city, from the beach all the way to a red hot air balloon.

“A VISIONARY” — Abloh, who passed away on November 28, privately battled cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of cancer. He did so while working as the head of his label Off-White, artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, and longtime creative director for rapper Kanye West. The designer was a leader — if not pioneer — in contemporary visual culture, luxury branding, and streetwear.

Though Abloh’s work was met with a mixed critical reception and raised eyebrows among the designer community — some of whom considered it more “copying” than “creative” — his influence was undeniable. He created a world that empowered the modifiers, the remixers, the curators, and anyone else once on the outside looking in on the fashion industry.

“Virgil was not only a friend, great collaborator, creative genius, visionary and disruptor, but also one of the best cultural communicators of our times,” Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s chief executive, said in a statement. “He paved the way for future generations. As a devoted supporter of his community through his charities and passions, he was an eternal optimist who believed anything was possible,” the statement continued. “Louis Vuitton will proudly continue to celebrate his legacy with a final show in Miami, per his wishes.”

WATCH HERE — According to The Business of Fashion, the Louis Vuitton show will include 72 looks from Abloh’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection, first teased in a video posted in June. It will also feature an additional 30 styles, including a grey formalwear theme.

You can watch the SS22 show on November 30 at 5:30 p.m. ET via Louis Vuitton’s platforms on YouTube, Instagram, and its website.

PARIS, FRANCE – JULY 05: Virgil Abloh wears a white shirt, a black tie with ‘A Formality’ slogan, a black blazer jacket with multicolored buttons embroidered, black flared suit pants, a gold watch, butterfly sunglasses, outside Louis Vuitton Parfum hosts dinner at Fondation Louis Vuitton, during Paris Fashion Week – Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2021/2022, on July 05, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Edward Berthelot/Getty Images)




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