Think of it as modern-day fairy tale: high street meets high fashion, they live happily ever after. This is the kind of design globalisation Off-White’s creator Virgil Abloh envisions. By partnering up with Jimmy Choo, Off-White gives the brand the opportunity to explore different ideas, helping it to venture into the eclectic side of streetwear.
Gone are the days when urban fashion (now more popularly known as streetwear) was viewed as a secret club for the cool, as young hipsters are now spotted and snapped throughout the streets of downtown Los Angeles, New York, and Tokyo. As we watch the traditional gatekeepers of fashion take a backseat to the influx of social media influencers who can command a brand’s popularity with the power of their network, streetwear has now reached the realms (and runways) of luxury fashion houses.
Milan-based label Off-White earned great success in storming luxury barricades since its launch in 2013, taking its place beside venerated luxury brands. Abloh’s popular and coveted Off-White label is perhaps a testament to where fashion is heading to: a transitional mix of the past and present; a future of rebuilding new rules. Unafraid of mixing fashion extremes, old and new, highand low-end, menswear and womenswear, Abloh represents a generation veering away from the norms of gender, place, work, or religion, but instead, looking towards possibility and change.
In Abloh’s world, streetwear and hiphop are linked, if Kanye West is in the musical vanguard of this process—defying genres, utilitarian, aspirational, global, and forged in the suburbs and streets of Chicago— then Abloh is his fashion equivalent. A multidisciplinary artist, he began what had felt like an aimless endeavour to transform himself into an all-encompassing design force, venturing into fashion, music, and even home décor. In the past two years he’s done successful team-ups with Warby Parker; reconstructed limited-edition Nike shoes, created a line of seven one-of-a-kind luxury products inspired by the passion and persistence of some of the most committed people and organisations on earth for Equinox; and threw a much-awaited IKEA collaboration into the mix. With the ability to continuously spot open lanes in different channels and making the leap to combine platforms and dispersing design borders, it comes to no surprise that Abloh is known as the king of collaboration.
It might have been men’s retailers that catapulted him into the scene with his luxury take on streetwear, but Abloh’s womenswear line is just as thoughtprovoking. If anything, Off-White’s women’s collections strongly affirms his translation of streetwise aesthetic and relatable cultural touchpoints.
“To collaborate with a brand like Off-White allows Jimmy Choo to explore a new avenue and take part in a different conversation,” says Sandra Choi, Jimmy Choo’s Creative Director. “I love to mix it up by getting together with different creative minds, identifying our synergies and combining our DNA to create a beautiful and surprising collection with unexpected links to the roots of our brand.” For Abloh, creative dreams were fulfilled when he was able to combine the young exuberance of Off-White with the storied elegance of Jimmy Choo.
The label’s latest spring/summer 2018 women’s collection paid homage to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, one of the first Jimmy Choo devotees. With the princess’ timeless elegance, Abloh toyed with a more delicate aesthetic than his previous seasons. The princess’ signature nineties style has been reconfigured for today’s modern mavens, which also makes for fantastic runway propositions that are composed of conceptual plastics, tulles, and explosive hothouse florals whilst all cleverly grounded in urban reality. But be warned, the collection is not for the traditional and classicist at heart, the nine shoe silhouettes compliment the ready-to wear looks imbued with Abloh’s very distinguished streetwear signature. Off-White x Jimmy Choo includes stiletto pumps—some of the strappy variety—and boots of various heights, with silhouettes ranging from the delicate and dainty to head-turning street style bangers. There are bejewelled red carpet-ready stilettos and striking floral print boots, but the real stars of the show are the boots and pumps caged in clear plastic.
Combining Abloh’s modern streetwear style and Jimmy Choo’s elegant aesthetic, the showstopping results are equal parts sophisticated and edgy. The attention to detail seen in every pair from the surprising play of different materials to the exclusive packaging ensures that these exciting new footwear designs are as covetable as they are wearable.
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