Rumours of Virgil Abloh’s appointment at Louis Vuitton were already bubbling in January when former creative director, Kim Jones posted a pair of Off-White x Air Jordan 1 sneakers, signed by Abloh himself. On the surface, Louis Vuitton doesn’t look like a natural progression for the Off-White designer—who holds a degree in Architecture rather than a stint at Parson’s—but with the popularisation of mixing streetwear with luxury apparel it now makes perfect sense. Kim Jones has been a fresh impetus to this movement, announcing AMBUSH co-founder, Yoon Ahn as Dior Homme’s new jewellery designer just days ago. The Tokyo label is best known for its fresh and experimental unisex jewellery with a slew of celebrity fans including Pharrell Williams, Big Sean, and Kanye West. It’s an exciting time in fashion, with increasingly untraditional designers being handed the keys to design houses. Will Chanel, Fendi, or even Balenciaga follow suit? If they do, here’s the best people for the job.
Fashion fantasy league
01. Molly Goddard for Chanel
The best stories are about the downtrodden who take their final shot only to find themselves coming into unprecedented success, the kind they dreamt of all along. That is Molly Goddard’s story. Her breakout and signature collection, renowned for billowing, oversized tulle dresses were her last stab at a career in fashion. From Dover Street Market to the pages of Vogue, her romantic and ethereal clothing has a delicacy that melds with the glamour of Chanel. While Karl Lagerfeld is in no hurry to loosen his reigns on the fashion house, it’s easy to daydream of Goddard’s fanciful feminine designs floating down the runway with the world watching. Her image of the “Goddard Girl” isn’t restricted to the saccharine image of a pretty pink dress but comes with a punk edge that is distinctly British. Her fans include Rihanna and Comme des Garçons’ Rei Kawakubo who almost wore one of Goddard’s gauzy designs to the Met Ball— until of course her husband reminded her that the exhibition was titled Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between and she should probably wear something of her own.
02. Han Wen for Balenciaga
In an interview with Vogue Han Wen described himself as a “storyteller designer” and his background in architecture inspires him to experiment with silhouettes, volume, and shapes. The New York based designer, who graduated from Parson’s was recognised by the CFDA as one of twelve 2016 graduates. Despite being the new kid on the block, Wen is playfully bold and his Spring Summer 2018 collection was a striking exhibition of colour, hardware and whimsy—not unlike Balenciaga’s current creative director, Demna Gvasalia. Wen’s work weaves in and out of fantasy and wearability and the masculine edge in his designs make him the perfect fit for Demna’s job.
03. Takashi Murukami for Comme des Garçons
Back in 2009, Taskahi Murukami put together some of his work for the now iconic VOGUE NIPPON and COMME des GARCONS “Magazine Alive” Pop-Up Store. Murukami’s 13-year relationship with Louis Vuitton saw his candy coloured designs becomes some of the most sought after pieces from the design house. Murukami’s many collaborations have propelled his work and his seemingly limitless output ranges from shoes, magazine covers to his work for Google— it’s any wonder what he could do as a creative director. Rei Kawakubo is undeniably irreplaceable but Murukami’s colourful injection into the label is a fantasy that challenges the realms of possibility.
04. Kanye West for Fendi
Eleven years ago, Kanye West and Virgil Abloh interned together at Fendi. They did everything an intern would expect to do: work 9-to-5, grab coffees for the office, and a lot of photocopying. In a BBC Radio 1 interview with Zane Lowe, West said him and Abloh, “brought the leather jogging pants six years ago to Fendi and they said no.” Perhaps the most parodied line from that interview was, “how many motherfuckers you done seen with a leather jogging pant?” Giving Kanye the keys to Fendi wouldn’t be a risk, and perhaps just due diligence for the $500 a month salary he was paid as an intern. At Adidas West is restricted to streetwear and undoubtedly other limitations in place by the sporting label would dampen his creative output. If Kanye came up with leather jogging pants and made beige wearable, the possibilities and Fendi are countless.
05. Dilara Findikoglu for Dior
Dramatic and infused with a punk charm, Dilara Findikoglu mixes traditional lines and shapes with edgier couture designs. While her designs have been described as occult and fantastical, there is an element of darkness that would blend seamlessly at Dior and even more excitingly, push the designer into an entirely different spectrum. Findikoglu has dressed FKA Twigs and Lady Gaga, as the essence of costume is at the forefront of her line, but refined further for a fashion house would be an experiment in the unknown. Set inside a church, her Spring/Summer 2018 collection was condemned by outraged Christians—perhaps she’d be right at home at Christian Dior.
06. Aleali May for Off-White
Rachel Zoe, Joe Zee, Carine Roitfeld, and Nicola Formicetti all went from stylist to designer without missing a beat. If someone trained in architecture can become the creative director of Louis Vuitton then it isn’t that farfetched to image a stylist at the helm of Off-White. Aleali May has already worked under Abloh (at RSVP Gallery in Chicago) and done her first collaboration with Nike’s Jordan Brand. Not only has May’s impeccable style amassed a huge following on Instagram but she’s become the go-to stylist for celebrities like Jaden Smith, Kendrick Lamar, 21 Savage, and many more. She’s an innovator with a fresh perspective and the reimagining of Off-White under her eye would be something to behold.