Off-White: Track and Field at La République
There is no quicker study in fashion than Virgil Abloh. He came to Paris a decade ago, as a neophyte in tow with Kanye West. Now, there are almost riots when he stages shows for his red-hot brand Off-White.
One had to practically fight one´s way into his show Thursday night near La République. A squad of huge security guards and CRS paramilitary police forming a line to funnel invited guests through the madding crowd of fans.
Inside there was practically buyer gridlock, so much in demand is practically anything bearing the Off-White logo. A quarter hour before the show began, the paparazzi went into feeding frenzy, piranha-like shooting football greats Neymar Junior and Dani Alves as they embraced and mugged for photos with the former´s girlfriend – willowy Bruna Marquezine.
The clothes weren´t half-bad either. Led by an opening duet featuring Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner in white mini skirts and crisp white shirts, a dramatic arrow logo on Bella’s back.
An all-white opening – just like at Abloh´s debut show for Louis Vuitton, where he is the menswear designer – with Southern Belle ruffled dresses followed by mushroom-sleeved cocktails; or coat dresses cut off just below the hip. Along, however, with a couple of absurdly-cut asymmetrical gowns.
Gradually the collection added color – above all bitter lemon. Initially Bahia ladies in lots of lace and then workout gear – leotards and hooded nylon jerkins, later mingled in with blue mint gowns. Made in a collaboration with Nike, Abloh´s cunning capability to marry message and mode, cool and commercial was impressive.
He morphed his signature plastic tag sneaker into a new high-heel. Often the simplest ideas worked best, like a classic denim jeans jacket, faded and finished with metal link necktie.
Abloh entitled the show Track and Field, though he could have called it Go Kart, since it was staged in a track garage in the 11th arrondissement.
As they walked the cast were also projected on screens. An F1 stopclock timed the whole event. Though the most telling timing was Abloh´s rocket-like ascent in fashion. Where, with modest classic fashion talent, he has become a star on the Internet and Instagram and in la mode.
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