Paris, France (CNN) — Virgil Abloh, the outspoken, fashionable artful minimalist whose enormous mark on the worlds of fashion and art has no ceiling, has died of cancer at the age of 41.
The New York native has been a rock star in the art world since his first solo art exhibition in 2006, prompting Jack Kerouac to write “What I’m not willing to do is to sell my hipster soul to a fashion house. Because, I have an art to live for.”
“In 1971, Magdalena Ryzak discovered Virgil Abloh’s work at School for American Ballet. She loved his outré paintings. Years later, they reunited, and from that moment forward, she had a deep respect for his talent and his mission to make a modern and beautiful art,” his contemporary, Todd Eberle, told CNN in a statement.
“Despite the two generations separating them, Virgil and Magdalena developed a friendship that transcended their professional, financial, and generational boundaries.”
Postcards from my fine jewelry box. You only live once, and I believe that beauty is more important than everything else. Virgil Abloh / all of them. #VirgilAsAnArtist A post shared by Nick Savage (@nicknyc) on Jan 16, 2018 at 11:47am PST
Abloh’s most recent impact was on the worlds of fashion and art.
Virgil Abloh partnered with Louis Vuitton, former design chief Kim Jones’ successor at the house, to create Off-White in 2009. From there, he expanded his empire to include his own line, Virgil Abloh x Off-White, and the much-lauded Nike Air Force 1 sneakers, which were designed with Phil Knight.
In 2016, Abloh joined the design team at LVMH-owned Louis Vuitton, finally giving him the capacity to transform the venerable high-end brand to his own tastes. He is one of the most prolific and talked-about creative directors in the luxury industry.
Meanwhile, Off-White’s off-duty style, vividly characterized by a fearless aesthetic rooted in fastidious detail, became the subject of a magazine cover story by fashion writer Roxane Gay in 2017.
Abloh’s career also included collaborations with artists like Yoko Ono, Steven Soderbergh, Yohji Yamamoto, Dua Lipa, Janelle Monae, and many others.