“The show will go on,” said Virgil Abloh, when the notoriously busy founder of Off-White and men’s artistic director of Louis Vuitton announced that he would not be present at his brand’s spring/summer 2020 presentation on the advice of his doctors. When show day came around, two members of the absent Abloh’s inner circle delivered a timely show of solidarity with the creative at Paris Fashion Week.
Enter Gigi and Bella Hadid, who were photographed wearing box-fresh Off-White looks en route to the show. The models are regulars on Abloh’s runways, and were hand-picked alongside Adut Akech and Karlie Kloss to debut Off-White’s first foray into red-carpet wear: billowing, leg-baring gowns, for autumn/winter 2019. Gigi, too, closed the Off-White spring/summer 2020 menswear show in June, where four women’s looks were incorporated into the edit.
The spring/summer 2020 line-up saw Akech make the first exit wearing a crisp white utilitarian shirt dress. A diverse cast of all-age models followed her down the makeshift runway in the basement of the Centre Pompidou, where rainbows of light were projected onto cloths. Last season’s streetwear-inspired gowns were back in abundance, and, once again, Gigi and Bella were the last to walk in bold fuchsia dresses boasting the sculptural detailing and technical fabrications Abloh’s designs are known for.
“My Off-White team is equipped to handle [it]… I designed [the collection] with this seeming hurdle in tow,” Abloh told Vogue, upon announcing that doctors had advised him not to travel to Paris. Certainly, his presence was felt in the recurrence of glamorous athleisure – or “glam-letics” – tropes, and in the buzz from his supporters, including Naomi Campbell, who were rooting for him from the sidelines.