No matter what Virgil Abloh did, he always left his mark. When he passed away in November, the late fashion designer was widely hailed as a pioneering figure whose groundbreaking work spanned everything from clothes to cars to home products. As founder of Off-White and artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s line, Abloh has inspired countless people.
To celebrate Abloh’s design inspirations and philanthropic dreams, Sotheby’s, Louis Vuitton and Nike have collaborated on an auction that will offer the pioneering designer‘s biggest fans the chance to own a small piece of his legacy. Tomorrow, January 26, bidding will open for Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1. The charity auction focuses on 200 pairs of special-edition shoes Abloh designed for Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2022 men’s collection – his last for the famed fashion house before losing a two-year private battle against cancer last year. Bidding for each pair starts at $2,000.
Sneakerheads and Abloh fans will instantly recognize elements of the Renaissance man’s singular vision in shoe design. Making extensive use of Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram and Damier pattern, as well as Abloh’s well-known quotation marks, the calfskin sneakers incorporate patterns found throughout the designer’s collections.
Today’s high-end sneakers are just as likely to be displayed in pristine condition as they are to be worn. To that end, each pair comes with a Louis Vuitton pilot case designed by Abloh. The Monogram Taurillon leather case incorporates Nike elements such as a swoosh luggage tag and the brand’s signature orange hue, while featuring an internal padding system perfect for keeping kicks looking pristine.
Abloh and Sotheby’s had previously worked with Nike to elevate sneaker culture. The multifaceted designer’s first collaboration with the brand dates back to 2017, when Abloh gave ten of his most iconic silhouettes his own twist. Over the next four years, Abloh applied his vision to everything from Nike football boots to training apparel, including several pieces designed in collaboration with Serena Williams. Additionally, Sotheby’s held a ‘Cult Canvas’ auction centered on ultra-rare Nikes in 2020. The auction house also sold several pairs of Michael Jordan’s game-worn Nikes, including one pair sold in October for $1.47 million, a new price record for sneakers.
Although it’s unlikely that any of the 200 pairs available will achieve this level of bidding, every sale of Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 will support a cause dear to the designer’s heart: opening the door to those who look, feel and dream like him.
In keeping with Abloh’s wishes (the designer was involved in the early stages of planning the auction), proceeds will benefit The Virgil Abloh “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. Built out of a desire to make the fashion industry more inclusive and equitable, the Fashion Scholarship Fund-affiliated program connects academically promising Black, African-American, and African students with the financial and mentorship they need to follow in Abloh’s footsteps and get into fashion. industry.
Auctions will take place via Sothebys.com and will continue until February 8. However, even those who don’t have the $2,000 to take home a pair of their own sneakers can see the designs up close at Sotheby’s New York in a free, public exhibition that runs until at the end of the auction period. While these shoes may represent some of Abloh’s final designs, his creative legacy will surely live on.