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LVMH MO╦T HENNESSY LOUIS VUITTON SE

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Louis Vuitton star designer Virgil Abloh dies after private battle with cancer

11/28/2021 | 02:15pm EST
Designer Virgil Abloh appears at the end of his Spring/Summer 2019 collection for Off-white fashion label during Mensĺ Fashion Week in Paris

PARIS, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Virgil Abloh, the American-born son of Ghanaian immigrants who became fashion's highest profile Black designer and the creative mind behind Louis Vuitton's menswear collections, died on Sunday at age 41, following a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer.

Abloh, who also worked as a DJ and visual artist, had been men's artistic director for Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury brand, since March 2018.

Abloh founded the Italian luxury streetwear label Off-White, in which LVMH took a 60% stake earlier this year. He was a former collaborator with rapper and fashion designer Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, who dedicated his latest Sunday Service to Abloh, according to billboard.com.

"Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom," Bernard Arnault, the billionaire boss of Luis Vuitton's owner, French fashion conglomerate LVMH, said in a statement Sunday.

Born in 1980 near Chicago, Abloh and his sister were raised in Rockford, Illinois. According to a 2018 Vogue magazine profile, his mother Eunice Abloh, a seamstress, taught him the basics of the craft at a young age.

After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he completed a master's degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Abloh and Ye became interns at Fendi in Rome, and made the rounds at Paris Fashion Week. By 2010, Abloh worked as creative director for Ye's creative agency, Donda. He also designed album covers for Ye's "Yeezus" and "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy."

His arrival at LVMH in 2018 marked the marriage between streetwear and high-end fashion, mixing sneakers and camouflage pants with tailored suits and evening gowns. His influences included graffiti art, hip hop and skateboard culture.

The style was embraced by the group as it sought to breathe new life into some labels and attract younger customers.

A prolific globe-trotter, Abloh generated buzz around products outside the world of fashion, ranging from Ikea door mats that read "Keep Off" to Moet & Chandon champagne bottles and Evian water.

Abloh eased up his pace slightly in 2019, citing health issues, and he was absent from an Off-White fashion show that year.

In July, LVMH expanded his role, giving him a mandate to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in a variety of sectors beyond fashion. For his label's first runway display in more than a year, as activities resumed in Paris following months of pandemic lockdowns, Abloh offered his audience a performance from British rapper Maya Arulpragasam, known as M.I.A, dancing with her on stage at the end.

Abloh drew on messages of inclusivity and gender-fluidity to expand the Louis Vuitton label's popularity, weaving themes of racial identity into his fashion shows with poetry performances and art installations.

With an eye to reaching Asian consumers grounded by the coronavirus pandemic, the designer sent his collections of colorful suits and utilitarian-flavored outerwear off to Shanghai last summer, when many labels canceled fashion shows.

Cameroonian handbag designer Wilglory Tanjong said on Instagram, "Virgil Abloh’s existence was so resounding that it paved the way for other Black designers like myself. And for that, I am forever grateful."

Abloh traveled to Doha weeks ago as the Qatar Museums unveiled "Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech," a mid-career retrospective. The exhibit was shown in 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.

Abloh is survived by his wife, Sannon, his children Lowe and Grey, his sister, Edwina, and his parents, Nee and Eunice. According to The New York Times, Abloh died in Chicago.

"For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma," said a message posted to his Instagram account. "He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture." (Reporting by Silvia Aloisi, Mimosa Spencer and Arriana McLymore; Editing by John Irish, Catherine Evans, David Gregorio, Daniel Wallis & Shri Navaratnam)


ę Reuters 2021
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Sales 2021 62 257 M 70 619 M 70 619 M
Net income 2021 10 697 M 12 134 M 12 134 M
Net Debt 2021 12 494 M 14 171 M 14 171 M
P/E ratio 2021 32,9x
Yield 2021 1,18%
Capitalization 351 B 398 B 398 B
EV / Sales 2021 5,84x
EV / Sales 2022 5,12x
Nbr of Employees 148 343
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Number of Analysts 29
Last Close Price 697,20 €
Average target price 782,59 €
Spread / Average Target 12,2%
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Managers and Directors
Bernard Arnault Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Jean-Jacques Guiony Chief Financial Officer
Charles de Croisset Independent Director
Diego della Valle Independent Director
Yves-Thibault de Silguy Independent Director
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