Vogue had the opportunity to catch up with Virgil Abloh this week ahead of OFF-WHITE's SS19 womenswear showcase in Paris. While preparing for the anticipated fashion event, the designer spoke on his "Track & Field" collection, collaborating with Nike, athleisure, and the cast of models for his show.
Below we've highlighted the standout excerpts from Vogue's recent conversation with Abloh, which you can then read in-full here.
On the SS19 collection:
"Essentially, it is femininity crashed against athletic apparel and sport. The juxtaposition is how you know something happened; that is the crash. There's textures, there's silhouettes. The shoes for example, I started with a very athletic shoe and crashed it into a very feminine high heel. Take the suiting: there's a biker short, but in tailoring. That's the crash in 3D. The end result is Off-White; it's a metaphor."
On the inspiration behind the collection:
"Whenever I'm doing a collection, I'm inspired by the world around us. Not in a flowery way of 'I saw something out a car window', it is more [about] the social context of womenswear now, women in culture and how they are represented. I also noticed – at least in America, in my social circle – that an active lifestyle is becoming the norm. It is a lifestyle: be healthy, live healthy, eat healthy and work out. So workout apparel donning this name 'athleisure' to me was not fully embracing fashion as a united idea, so I wanted to merge this athletic apparel with fashion but in a way that it's organic."
On athleisure and Nike couture:
"They are totally different. If you could combine the best of athletic wear – its performance, its fabrication, its sensibility – and bend that into fashion, what does performance apparel look like? Or what does fashion look like after it has [gone through] this thought process? That is where a lot of the fabrics and the silhouettes came from. It's 'Nike couture'."
On casting athletes for his show:
"In my mind it was natural to have real athletes [in the show]. I do fashion to tell a narrative. In my mind, the muse is the athlete. These Olympic athletes, they train for a living, they live in workout clothes. So I wanted to see what these clothes look like on real women who actually do that. I think it can extend out to the girl who likes to work out and loves athletic wear."
On collaborating with Nike:
"Working with Nike this time was more apparel-focused; it's more a total look than just focusing on the T-shirt. What I feel like I can add is the flair of relevancy or the lifestyle. Not so much the product itself, but why wear the product or how can the product be intriguing? What would make an athlete feel prideful? Or confident? Like they look their best? I believe that little extra element, which is above and beyond the product, can make someone perform even further - thereby achieving a better result."
On staying on top of multiple projects and brands:
"In a weird way, the key is not to think about it. I don't sit and think, 'Oh, I'm working a lot.' Every idea that comes to mind I execute or I look for outlets to put out ideas. I just do it."
Follow on over to Vogue for the entire piece surrounding Virgil Abloh and OFF-WHITE SS19.
Also, see below for a closer look at Abloh's latest OFF-WHITE x Nike sneaker, which he initially previewed just yesterday.
Now, here's an official look at OFF-WHITE's new Converse Chuck 70.