Off-White: In yellow and lilac in Marcel Cerdan’s ring

Almost certainly there will be thousands of Diet Prada followers disappointed to read this review but, hang it all, the latest collection from Off-White by Virgil Abloh was actually very, very good.


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Off-White - Fall-Winter 2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula

Abloh has been pilloried on the web for allegedly copying many other designers, but then again, as the late great Karl Lagerfeld always used to say, we all shop.
 
So, on a blustering, showery Thursday night, Virgil invited over 1,000 of the great and the good all the way to Bercy in east Paris, and into an underground boxing arena.
 
Using the full expanse of the cavernous space he sent out his cast on an enormous chessboard, marching to a marvelous soundtrack of Eric B. & Rakim and Digable Planets.
 
The American designer cut frock coats with six-inch-wide lapels and wrapped beauties in checkerboard fur coats paired with feathery heels. Abloh may not be trained as a designer but whoever is cutting his jackets and pleated skirts is no slouch. These he paired with the accessory of the season, the sophisticated man-bag-meets-fanny-pack. Which, come to think of it, Virgil did more to create than anyone.
 
He did send out quite a few cutaway skirts; homing in on a well-established recent trend, but the Off-White versions were flattering and fell very finely.
 
And, one had to love his sense of theater: like the two giant, ankle-grazing, down coats – one in blown up check, the other in glimmering silver. Plus, his Grand Guignol finale of outrageous ruffled gowns in a check that exactly matched the floor design was a great insider dig. Damier anyone? All below a battery of changing lights. 


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Off-White - Fall-Winter 2019 - Womenswear - Paris - © PixelFormula
 
In short, Abloh is a thoroughly hard-working chap who has fought his way to global fame, while building a major new brand, against very considerable odds.
 
The boxing space where we sat is named after Marcel Cerdan. He was a great French world champion fighter, who went toe to toe with Jake LaMotta, romanced Édith Piaf and died in a plane crash in the Azores. No Frenchman ever had more moxie than Cerdan, and that’s the very least one can say about Abloh: this guy has tons of moxie.
 

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