Take a front row seat to Off-White’s ambitious new era

While the fashion cognoscenti of Paris continue to exchange rumors about who will succeed last Virgil Abloh at the helm of Louis Vuitton Men’s, one of Abloh’s longtime collaborators, confidently asserts a new direction at Off-White. Ib Kamara, the British stylist and editor-in-chief of Dazed, was named Off-White’s Art and Image Director in May, following an inspired three-year stretch as Abloh’s most trusted stylist. Since then, Kamara has deepened the grooves Abloh put on the brand he founded in 2012. After Thursday night’s Off-White show, the first overseen by Kamara, he explained how he and the design studio approached the SS23 collection, which was originally started by Abloh before his death. “We’ve kind of discovered all of our house codes and we’re experimenting and we’re trying new ideas,” Kamara said. And he laid out an ambitious goal for Off-White’s future: “We want to make it the most desirable, the most luxurious house.”

The runway show, entitled “Celebration”, certainly competed with anyone in terms of audience: despite being on the outskirts of Paris, hundreds of young Abloh offspring mobbed the entrance such as Naomi Campbell, Erykah Badu, Lucien Clarke , Bloody Osiris and other members of the extended Off-White family entered a department store carpeted in a warm shade of royal blue. Now that luxury labels are gobbling up signature shades left and right, it seems fitting that Off-White formalizes one as well: Meet “Impossible Blue.”

Maximilian Davis, Jonathan Anderson and Yasiin Bey appeared for Ib Kamara’s off-white debut.

Like Jonathan Anderson and new Ferragamo designer Maximilian Davis looked on, a gaggle of models marched out in trim overstitched jackets and form-fitting sheer knits adorned with muscular embellishments. Backstage, Kamara elaborated on the theme: “Complete imagination is one of the main things we tackled,” Kamara said. “One of our codes, like Virgil [explored for a] very long time is the feeling that you just can dream and reimagine.”

A key element that the Off-White team rethought was the clothing itself. The loose threads were a gesture to Off-White’s signature deconstruction, the feeling that the garment, partially finished, is a work in progress. But here it was displayed in a new sense of sophistication. “We wanted to step back and really find the codes,” Kamara explained, “but in a simpler way, a more artistic way.” (Kamara used the word “codes” many times in our brief conversation. Abloh was famous for the “cheat codes” that guided his creative process, but Kamara talks about the brand’s signature visual and thematic elements.)

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