“Get your iPhones ready: the vibes are about to be immaculate,” the emcee introduced at the beginning of the Off-White present in Paris on Sunday – the model’s first bodily runway occasion in 16 months.
As if on cue, the assembled telephones rose for the primary look: Bella Hadid in an ultra-short, electrical blue velour tube gown and knee-high boots, marking the kick-off of a group that signaled a extra refined route for the model. Back to enterprise as regular? Not fairly.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Off-White switched to a coed and see-now-buy-now mannequin, and launched a brand new platform known as Imaginary TV.
“It’s a mixed platform channel that merges together fashion, art and culture, not in individual silos for the sake of marketing, or just bringing energy, but truly Off-White representing artists,” artistic director Virgil Abloh defined backstage.
“It started as just a TV station that I had guests perform on. Now, this is the 3D iteration, which is kind of like if you saw SNL,” he added. “I made a personal rule to myself that I will not continue just being on autopilot. For my own satisfaction, the format has to change.”
Welcome to the brand new technology of catwalk present: not only a platform for garments, but additionally for performers – on this case, M.I.A., who has been absent from the stage for a number of years and carried out a medley of her hits, together with “Paper Planes,” backed by Tamil dancers.
“She’s an artist that’s known for speaking her stance on global issues and I wanted to make a safe space for her to do her art and pair it together with what Off-White stands for. It’s about representing a young generation, it’s not about selling clothes. Imaginary TV is my fashion communication system,” Abloh stated.
Fortunately, his “Laboratory of Fun” present was additionally a feast for the style senses. Highlights included Amber Valletta in a teal leather-based mini skirt swimsuit; Honey Dijon in an orange leather-based coat-dress with monochromatic equipment, and Alton Mason in an outsized felt wool jacket with a customized print by Pablo Tomek.
While wanting revolutionary, the lineup was a great reflection of the zeitgeist. Color and technical materials injected floor pleasure into minimalist appears to be like, whereas the lads’s garments borrowed from protecting gear, from the hazmat-style hooded tops in security yellow and orange, to a wearable quilt of a coat with an identical vest for additional padding.
Abloh has periodically steered the label on a extra mature course, in an effort to shed its streetwear associations and anchor it within the luxurious phase. This time round, he drew inspiration from his background in structure and up to date collaboration with German electronics firm Braun.
“Off-White is ageing. I was given the torch of youthful fashion, what’s happening in the next generation, and I think in the last year I’ve aged the fastest that I ever could have,” the 40-year-old designer defined. “The brand in my mind should never be stagnant.”
Abloh has at all times surrounded himself with like-minded artists and collaborators. By positioning Off-White as a conduit for concepts, even because it pivots to a showcase for promoting in-season collections, he’s managed to maintain its cultural foreign money intact. Fashion as leisure is clearly right here to remain.