Virgil Abloh is an all-rounder.
He has long made a name for himself in streetwear with his label Off White.
He has been one of the most important fashion designers since he became chief designer of menswear at Louis Vuitton in 2018.
He certainly owes his rise to the successful cooperation with Nike.
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In 2016 he teamed up with the sporting goods manufacturer for a sneaker collection. Abloh gave ten classic Nike silhouettes with a special design a deconstructed look: Nike Blazer, Air Jordan I, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Presto, Nike Air VaporMax, Converse Chuck Taylor, Nike Air Force 1, Nike React Hyperdunk, Nike Air Max 97, Nike Zoom Vaporfly. Like a surgeon, the designer dismantled the silhouettes to get inside the shoes - giving each of the Nike classics its own personal touch. Cable ties with text that hang on the shoes are the hallmark of the sneakers. The "The Ten" collection caused a hype. It is still being traded at the highest prices.
The history of the collaboration between Virgil Abloh and Nike is documented in "Icons: Something's Off" by Taschen-Verlag. Using prototypes, personal text messages from Abloh to the Nike designers and sneaker icons from the Nike archive, they take us on a journey through the creative process.
Abloh and Nike worked with London-based design studio Zak Group on the design and creation of the book.
Zak Kyes took over the artistic direction.
Text comes from Abloh and Nike's Nicholas Schonberger, writer Troy Patterson, and curator and historian Glenn Adamson.
A foreword by Hiroshi Fujiwara places the project in the historical continuum of Nike's joint projects.
Abloh expressly thanks the musician, producer and designer: "Without Hiroshi Fujiwara, there is no me."
Half catalog, half conceptual toolbox
The book "Icons: Something's Off" is a two-part compendium, a catalog and a conceptual toolbox in equal parts.
The first part has almost no text and presents the visual culture of the sneaker, while a lexicon in the second part presents key people, places, objects, ideas, materials and scenes from which the project emerged.
By combining the originality of the original models with slang terms and local idioms of those who wear them, Abloh plays with the building blocks of visual language.
Inspired by Dadaism, architectural theory and the avant-garde happening, he analyzes what makes the shoes icons and deconstructs them into artistic assemblages - each new creation is at the same time a piece of industrial design, a ready-made sculpture and an item of clothing.
"Icons: Something's Off" offers insights into the technical and creative ingenuity of a remarkable designer. Abloh's contemporary iconography is informative and interesting - and not just for sneaker collectors. With its eye-catching neon green design, the photo book, which weighs more than two kilograms, is a great addition to any coffee table book collection.