Since Kim Jones vacated his post as top menswear designer at Louis Vuitton in January, the internet has played host to no shortage of takes detailing the ways in which the British talent had reinvigorated the French house's men's offerings. His shoes would certainly be very difficult to fill — but it appears that Louis Vuitton has officially landed a more-than-suitable successor for Jones.
On Monday, Louis Vuitton announced that Virgil Abloh — the multihyphenate founder of haute streetwear label Off-White, long-time collaborator of Kanye West and overall industry darling — would replace Jones as the brand's next artistic director of menswear. Per The New York Times, this makes him Louis Vuitton's very first Black artistic director, and one of only a few Black designers — including Balmain's Olivier Rousteing and Ozwald Boateng, Givenchy's menswear designer from 2003-2007 — to helm a French heritage house.
"It is an honor for me to accept the position of Men's Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton," said Abloh, an Illinois native who reportedly plans to relocate his family to Paris for the role, in a statement. "I find the heritage and creative integrity of the House are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times."
Abloh is no stranger to hype, and has long been rumored to have been under LVMH's watchful eye; Dhani even noticed some of the conglomerates most powerful higher-ups sitting front-row at Off-White's excellent Fall 2017 runway show. This, perhaps, took form most prevalently in regards to the top gig as Riccardo Tisci's replacement at Givenchy, though The Times also reports that he was mentioned for positions at Burberry (to replace Christopher Bailey, a job that eventually went to Tisci) and Versace.
Abloh, who has no formal design training, will continue to run Off-White, telling The Times: "It is for the 17-year-old version of myself, whereas Vuitton is for the 37-year-old I am today." (He'll also continue to work with West, but will "cut back his other activities," like DJing.) Abloh's first collection for Louis Vuitton will debut during Paris Men's Fashion Week in June.