We no longer present Virgil Abloh. The American designer in Off-White controls and collections man Louis Vuitton is sure of him, full of ideas and always ahead of his time. On his side, Alexandre Arnault, CEO of Rimowa and son of the owner of the luxurious LVMH team. Combined with their collaborations, their new vision of luxury, the millennia and even Kanye West, which gathered in Paris 10 years ago, faced Friday their feelings about the fashion industry in a crowded room. Potocki Hotel, Paris, on the occasion of the Vogue Fashion Festival.
Off-White: The success of the Internet in retail development
"Off-White is my diary, a discussion with myself," said Virgil Abloh to the joint journalists, professionals and students of the industry, among whom are many fans of the artistic director of the time. Founded in 2014, the Off-White brand "started from scratch" to build its image and invent a famous logo today. On the French home side, the challenge is to change the predefined codes. "My relationship with Louis Vuitton is different, it is a dialogue with the heritage of a home that was founded in 1854. But as with Off-White, branding and iconography remain very important." The monogram is an exciting work tool " , admits Virgil Abloh.
On the other hand, the 5.5 million-strong brand at Instagram is Virgil Abloh's think tank. "White White is the man, she is the woman … She is a bridal as a sweatshirt," says the designer, known for his multidisciplinary approach and productive creations, reducing to dozens of media collaborations. A sky without clouds for Virgil Abloh, whose brand was dedicated to Lyst as the most sought after of the year. This does not prevent some from questioning the position of the prices of items whether they belong to luxury or not. "This question often asks me," smiled Virgil Abloh. "Off-White produces in responsible laboratories and has a team of 40 well-paid people," he says. It concludes: "In a way, it is the price of creativity. "
On October 25, Off-White opened the doors of the Dubai boutique. And while the brand has led to a lot of social networks and the digital explosion, the natural channel remains essential for its founder, who made his debut in the world of architecture. "Off-White is not an online store," he says, recalling that the brand currently has about twenty stores and targets 40 from next year. All brand sales areas are different, according to the rule established by the creator, who wants to add value to the customer experience. "You have to think of the limited-edition pieces that are meant to be sold, but also to attribute all the other products that make up the foundation of the brand," he says. It causes Colette as a natural reference place. Alexandre Arnault, meanwhile, prefers "the 360 ° relationship with the Apple Store customer".
Product, luxury and partnerships
"Virgilio already wanted to work with Rimowa before buying it from LVMH (in 2016)," his president said between two laughter explosions. Recognizes that the idea of the famous transparent suitcase comes from the author of the Off-White. A style that, according to Alexandre Arnault, runs counter to the current social trend, obsession with data and confidentiality. "Transparency makes it possible to create links with people. When we expose a little more than the customer sees, it creates a personal relationship with the collection," says the designer, who emphasizes the need to renew the offer to encourage the purchase .
"Design can be a very greedy industry," admits Virgil Abloh at the same time that Arnault explains its niche market, taking the example of Apple's iPhones. "People do not need more than three suitcases, so you have to develop ideas to come back, not because they need a suitcase, but because they want this suitcase." He concludes for the development of the Cologne-based company: "When we bought Louis Vuitton in the 1980s, the company was the size of Rimowa today. We have the potential for growth and we see ourselves putting ourselves in the place of "functional luxury" as a luxury brand that is desirable and customized to a agkes consumer. "With regard to partnerships, the American designer is very clear:" In the past, called marketing works, but for me, the cause of revival of fashion. "
Virgil Abloh is sometimes the target of criticism because of the lack of training in the field, reducing his role to that of the next-generation creative director. But it analyzes the phenomenon in retrospect. "I think the fashion design was different before, today, for a creator, it is most important to understand the ecosystem in which we live", analyzes the creative process, the evolution of parades, and the changes caused by the digital explosion. social factor and networks are essential to this change. Consumers do not just get a product, they build a relationship with it and they create the message. "Alexandre Arnault adds:" Before, the brands dictate what they want to sell. But today, it is impossible to control a message that can be answered, repeated or liked. "
According to Virgil Abloh, this change of context also entails a development in the concept. "We have to question the terms luxury, high fashion, low fashion and streetwear." The concept of "luxury" is linked to previous generations, and today, what creates the link is affinity, "he explains. A point shared by Alexandre Arnault, who ensures that he does not appreciate the automatic link between price and luxury. According to him, the concept of luxury has to be linked to what makes the originality of the product. The leader of a new generation who wants to change the rules of the game, Virgil Abloh concludes: "As a creator, I want to offer consumers products that can pride themselves. I want to ask people where they come from. The new luxury is to create this emotional connection to the product. "
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