Cover Virgil Abloh (Photo: Christian Vierig/Getty Images)

Louis Vuitton’s menswear designer passed away last month and we discuss who will take over the creative director role at the French fashion house

Virgil Abloh was reaching the peak of his creative energy and reinventing the menswear line at Louis Vuitton when it was announced last week that he lost his private battle with cancer. Abloh created a very specific and new streetwear focused look, experimenting with colours, silhouettes and even mixing masculine with feminine designs. This new direction was exciting, so it begs the question: Who will step into the Louis Vuitton menswear role next?

See more: The Rise and Rise of Virgil Abloh
The French house and fashion world are still reeling from Abloh’s loss—he was a visionary who brought designers of colour into a highly competitive industry. It’s impossible to imagine another creative coming even close to filling his shoes, but these are the personalities that come closest to Abloh’s influential status.

Daniel Lee

Having just left Bottega Veneta, it’s unclear where this influential designer will be heading next, but who’s to say that Louis Vuitton isn’t a possibility? Like Abloh, Daniel Lee understands what a younger audience wants (being so young himself), and how to bring a cool and casual element to a luxury house.
Lee gave rise to some of the cleanest and innovative designs in recent years, with the Cloud and Cassette bags elevating Bottega Veneta as a major player during his three years there.

Kerby Jean Raymond

A prominent black designer whose brand, Pyer Moss, references many aspects of African American culture, Kerby Jean Raymond feels like a natural choice to continue what Abloh brought to Louis Vuitton. As well as being a board member of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), Raymond recognises young talent and wants to uplift his community by bringing new designers into the tight folds of luxury brands.
Raymond has a strong eye for combining streetwear with sophistication and, back in 2019, Abloh was called out by the fashion community for copying a yellow raincoat look by Raymond for his brand Off-White. Raymond addressed it in a now-deleted tweet, but the similarity goes to show that the two designers were operating on similar wavelengths.

Emily Adams Bode

Louis Vuitton made history when it welcomed Abloh as the house’s first black creative director, so if its going to continue pushing boundaries, why not hire the first female creative director for menswear? Emily Adams Bode won the CDFA fashion award for American Menswear Designer this year, so her talents in establishing her brand, Bode, have been recognised.
Playing with colours, fabrics and giving classic styles modern upgrades, Bode is akin to Abloh in bringing an element of fun to menswear and redefining the boundaries of brand identity. Dabbling in checkered patterns herself, we’d be interested to see her take on the traditional Louis Vuitton Damier.

Grace Wales Bonner

Another female choice as recognised by the CFDA, Grace Wales Bonner took home the award for International Menswear Designer this year, adding to her other awards that include the 2015 British Fashion Award for Emerging Menswear Designer and the 2016 LVMH Young Designer Prize. She was also invited by Maria Chiuri Grazia to collaborate on the Dior Resort 2020 collection, so she’s got a firm foot in the door at LVMH.
Her brand, Wales Bonner, addresses the politics of identity, sexuality and race in iterations of tailored sportwear and Afro-European ideas of luxury. Whether or not she may be considered too young, Louis Vuitton could capture the zeitgeist of youthful and multicultural design that Bonner is presenting.

Edvin Thompson

Edvin Thompson of Theophilio is another designer blurring the lines of culture and gender. Taking home Emerging American Designer of the year at the CFDA Awards, he’s on the rise, much like Abloh was pre-Louis Vuitton.
Designing both men and womenswear, Thompson incorporates his Jamaican roots into his pieces, whether that’s prints, colours or styles associated with his home of Jamaica. There’s plenty of opportunity for him to experiment with gender-neutral silhouettes, and we’d be interested to see if Thompson would bring that to Louis Vuitton, just as Abloh had been doing.


10 Memorable Moments from Virgil Abloh on the Runway

5 Collectible Pieces Designed by Virgil Abloh You Should Own

End of An Era: 10 Daniel Lee Bottega Veneta Pieces You Need to Invest In

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.