PARIS, France — There was the usual crowd of fans outside the Off-White show today, and the set up — large and spacious, with a focal point in the middle — was familiar. But the rest looked like, if not a radically new brand, then for sure a significant evolution from the past. Virgil Abloh — he was there in the flesh, taking a bow at the end of the show, looking very different himself, shaved and less triumphant — is growing out of streetwear. He is not going formal, but something close.
The show opened with grey flannel — boring garb par excellence — fashioned into loose double-breasted suits swarming with very Comme des Garçons-like cut-outs and holes. Not super original, but enough to pass as something fresh. As the show continued, to the sound of dancer Cartier Williams tap-tapping away, more followed, from trenches to capes to jumpers to printed silks, all as far as possible from “street.”
What struck me the most was the sombreness of the whole affair, in terms of shapes, colours and performance, raising a key question: Will this resonate with followers of the brand, who are used to some rather eye-catching stuff? Will they grow as Mr Abloh grows?