The opening look and most of the closing, women’s included, at this Off-White show were made in collaboration with the New York artist Futura—aka Lenny McGurr. His vivid spray strokes and sleekly alien Pointman figure were incorporated as print or jacquard into suiting, soft trenches, cycling vests, denim, a blanket, and evening dresses. As Virgil Abloh sketched it in his long sentences backstage:
“In his lifetime, and in the culture that we come from, which is a segment of hip-hop and graffiti, [his work] started out being seen as a form of vandalism, not art. . . . But as well as painting on the side of subway trains, he was part of the scene and showed with Basquiat and Keith Haring. . . . . He was on what was once thought of as the fringe. . . . but now, through time, we can see that the beauty of Basquiat is also the beauty of Lenny, Futura.”
That transition from the counterculture—the fringe—to become both the subject of establishment acclaim and an agent of change within the establishment mirrors Abloh’s own path: In the 10 years since he was photographed by Tommy Ton with Kanye West and crew outside Comme des Garçons, Abloh has completed the full loop. But reflecting on the longer span of Futura’s journey—combined with his own recent project curating his past body of work for the “Figures of Speech” exhibition in Chicago—has made Abloh consider a bigger picture.
“When I make things, I look at it on a scale of 30 years. What gives the esteem and the energy . . . I know the work has to mean something now, but I’m also thinking about what it means when you zoom out.” See the eclectic style images below!
Author: LUKE LEITCH