'Chill man!' says the Bart Simpson character on black jumper and white tee from this morning's Off-White show. It's hard to see how Virgil Abloh has even an ounce of chill these days. He spearheads one of the most successful brands in fashion, he is one of the world's busiest collaborators - IKEA, Byredo, Nike and most recently, Rimowa - and his first show as creative director at Louis Vuitton is tomorrow.
Impressive then, that this collection was alluringly relaxed and confident (and not overbearingly so, as it sometimes can be). One half-expected a frenzied affair, with Abloh juggling so many plates, but amongst the fuzzy fake grass and mini deck-chairs, this felt resolutely positive.
Spray-painted script t-shirts and colourful embroidered text on jeans paid homage to graffiti artist Dondi White, who was cited as an honoured influence. As too did the multitude of chains that jangled like odd found charms around necks. One felt transported to eighties New York where White made his name, with heavy, denim looks pervading a sense of Larry Clark's Kids. It was a celebration of a young New York, and youth in general.
The aforementioned Bart Simpson t-shirts were yet another collaboration to add to the ever-growing list and were an indication of Abloh's pop and youth culture obsession coming to a head. These were a welcome addition of comedy amongst the full-denims and darker tones, and harked to a New York skater with just enough attitude. The best of all was a t-shirt with a picture of The Simpsons' house on it, the back read "ARCHITECTURE". What a great giggle-inducer, although admittedly one can never be sure Abloh meant it to be so.
Painted jackets with extended collar picked up The Simpsons yellow and kept the collection in osmosis. Slightly more sporadic, but welcome nonetheless, was Abloh's 'interval' of faux snow which rained down as a rewound, remixed White Christmas played. Sequins mirrored this frosty moment with denim jacket and jean smattered entirely with glittery iridescent.
One felt that this collection cemented the strengths and success of Off-White. Approachable, relatable, covetable. But will it be the same for Abloh's Louis Vuitton?