Virgil Abloh’s futurist vision lives on in Off-White’s new campaign
IB Kamara and photographer Rafael Pavarotti blend the past and future in Mexico’s blue city
“Making a successful luxury brand in nine years is genius,” says IB Kamara, Dazed editor-in-chief and art and image director of Off-White. And yet, that’s just what Virgil Abloh did with the label he founded in 2012, its cross logo becoming a standard for fashion fans across the globe. It makes sense, then, that this stroke of genius takes centre stage in Off-White’s new campaign, which fuses the brand’s heritage with its future-facing, ever-evolving approach.
Shot by Rafael Pavarotti, the campaign draws out tensions and dialogues – between past and future, culture and subculture, skatewear and ‘high fashion’ – against the vivid backdrop of Chefchaouen, AKA Morocco’s “blue city”. In a blend of menswear and womenswear designed by Abloh, models gather in the blue-washed city streets and clamber over ultramarine taxi cabs like it’s a surreal (and impeccably-dressed) staging of Cats, under the aesthetic vision of Kamara.
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In some of the images, the models seem to melt into these environments, wearing hooded puffer jackets in the label’s staple electric blue – just the bold Off-White logo pops against the painted stone. In others, Off-White’s “party girls” wear fluid knitwear, low-rise leather skirts, and slinky micro dresses, daubed with the brand’s first beauty collection, Paperwork. As always, it’s a story of contrasts, taking equal parts inspiration from luxe party culture, and codes lifted from extreme sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and skiing.
“[Virgil] revolutionised streetwear and luxury that crosses generations and decades,” says Kamara. “He showed the world that the underrepresented, the underdogs and Black people, in particular, have brilliant minds and can push and compete equally in the establishment. He inspired hope and brought about change. Virgil Abloh was one of the freest-thinking black men of our time.”
The story goes that Chefchaouen originally began to paint itself blue as an “omen”, to bring water to the area – in other words, to promote nourishment and growth. Given Abloh’s legacy, it seems like the perfect place to continue Off-White’s story.