In social media-centric times, hype is king-maker, and, in an era of Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Demna Gvasalia at Balenciaga, with their reimagining of these iconic fashion houses translating into sky-rocketing sales, that energy, that reach, is everything. Not surprising then that for hype master Virgil Abloh, there was a near riot at the doors to get in for his Off-White Autumn/Winter 2018 show. With his Midas touch on just about everything right now, from the more accessible end of his remit – graphic hoodies, sneaker collaborations, industrial belts and bag clips – all the way through to his ready-to-wear collections, Abloh has captured a movement, a spirit, pitched perfectly and democratically creating a sense of inclusion, craved and coveted by all ends of his buying spectrum.
'West Village' was the name of the collection, and ran with the type of NYC woman, the designer explained, who goes to spin class on weekdays and rides horses in Westchester on weekends. Cue quilted capes, riffs on riding boots, jodhpurs, printed scarves, crisp, fitted shirts and jackets, and then tapestries woven with traditional landscape prints of horsey scenes – with riders wearing Off-White, of course – on hot pants, cropped jackets, dresses and coats. Athleisure was still a key code running through the collection; Hailey Baldwin walking in go-faster stripes, plus zip-up spin-gear-cum-club-wear, hoodies, bra tops and anoraks, not to mention those Nike VaporMax sneakers – sure to be an instant sellout. With a renewed sense of formality, Off-White for evening got more of a look in this season, with a standout frothy Champagne-hued tulle gown added to the line-up at the last minute, while a silver sequin one-shoulder dress was straight out of the Samantha Jones playbook.
Launching a scent with Byredo (samples of which were left on each show-goer's seat), a recent collaboration with artist Takashi Murakami showing at London's Gagosian Gallery and even venturing into creating a herbal water for a pop-up at a Parisian cafe, with his dynamism and flair, it seems Abloh's ascent is only just getting started.