Virgil Abloh, the mind behind Raf Simons’s Dior Homme and whose first collection for Louis Vuitton and two for Off-White, which have helped catapult his career to a level of global fame, is dead at 41.
Abloh died of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles on Wednesday night, according to reports. The graphic designer, whose creations often signified cultural change and inclusion — particularly in terms of race, religion and sexuality — was instrumental in advancing American fashion with a fashion show that started with a Confederate flag, with the brand not realizing until after, that this was what it would be featuring during the season’s debut.
Kensington Palace posted a tribute on the official Twitter account for the royal family, saying: “Today the royal family is mourning the loss of [Virgil Abloh] who was a hugely important figure within the world of fashion.”
“The family requests that their privacy be respected at this difficult time,” read the statement, signed off by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Statement from the family of @RafSimons: “Today the royal family is mourning the loss of [Virgil Abloh] who was a hugely important figure within the world of fashion. Our thoughts are with his loved ones at this time.” pic.twitter.com/9OOJGxGKd6 — Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) April 10, 2019
Viral outrage was swift and reverberated across social media. A thorough explanation of how exactly the flag was used at the initial 2018 show, crafted by Brad Anderson, was posted on Dior’s Instagram, which explained that the flag was the only symbol that made sense in a collection that explored “American cultural clichés, images, symbols and paraphernalia,” according to a statement posted to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon.