When Virgil Abloh tragically passed in November 2021, he left behind a legacy as one of fashion's most prolific creators. A beloved member of the community, there was little Abloh didn't try to achieve with his time on Earth, all with the goal of setting up the possibility of even greater success for the generations which would succeed him and changing the parameters of what was possible in the world of design. His presence was irreplaceable.
Louis Vuitton is proving that by paying tribute to what would ultimately become one of Abloh's final projects for the French house: His reimagining of Nike's Air Force 1 sneaker in 47 different styles, meant to accompany the Spring 2022 collection which would be his last for the brand, will be on display for the public at a special exhibition in Brooklyn.
The immersive exhibition welcomes visitors inside Abloh's world. At the front is a giant screen displaying video of the sneakers being made and at the back is a giant treehouse ("symbolic of Virgil's own childhood dreams," according to Vuitton). In between are mirrored monoliths with sneakers crawling across the walls; some feature big, interactive screens where visitors can manipulate the 3D shoe image by hand.
If you're brave enough to ascend a spiral staircase, you'll get a bird's eye view of the space and see the layout creates the LV logo. The walls feature blue skies with clouds, a pattern that repeats in the LED floor — all in tribute to Abloh's ability to dream.
Inside the treehouse, there's a DJ booth, a screen displaying the different styles alongside Abloh's design notes, as well as a moodboard re-created from Abloh's office. You'll also get a better view of the Abloh quotes sprinkled across the room, like, "Are you a tourist or a purist?" and, "Who did it first? Where did they get the idea? Is it new?"
Just nine of the 47 styles are being produced, and will retail for an eye-popping $2,750 to $3,450 when released in June. Even at those price tags, though, they could still be a steal for would-be collectors: Just this past February, a lot of 200 Air Force 1s designed by Abloh fetched $25.3 million at a Sotheby's auction.
"Louis Vuitton and Nike 'Air Force 1' by Virgil Abloh: the Exhibition" will be open at the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse (73 West Street, in Brooklyn) from May 21 to May 31; hours are 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and entry is free.