The Louis Vuitton designer and Off-White founder died of cancer on 28 November 2021 at age 41. Throughout his trailblazing career, Abloh became the first African-American to head a French luxury fashion house, raised $1 million in scholarship funds for Black fashion students, and opened doors for streetwear in the high fashion world.
On the one year anniversary of his death, many models, actors, and fashion lovers alike have remembered both Abloh and his legacy.
Gigi Hadid took to Instagram on Monday, where she posted a series of Instagram stories celebrating the influential designer. In one post, the supermodel shared an image of herself whispering into Abloh’s ear, and wrote: “It’s bittersweet…the forever honor and joy of having known a true hero, but also the pain of just a year without you !! You left us a lifetime of inspiration, just by being yourself…We love and miss you so much. Virgil Forever & ever.”
The 27-year-old model also posted several throwback photos of the Louis Vuitton creative director to her Instagram story. Alongside one black and white image of the two flashing peace signs, Hadid called Abloh “our angel”.
The model’s younger sister, Bella Hadid, also joined in on paying tribute to Abloh on the anniversary of his passing. The 26-year-old posted a sweet picture of herself and the Chicago native to her Instagram story, in which the pair are posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
“Man,” she began the tribute, alongside a mending red heart emoji. “I miss you everyday V! It feels like you’ve been gone a lifetime and a week all at the same time.”
Meanwhile, model Hailey Bieber looked back on the time Abloh designed her wedding dress for her 2019 wedding to Justin Bieber. In the image posted to her Instagram story, Bieber is wearing a white lace off-the-shoulder gown and a flowing sheer veil, as she stands arm in arm with Abloh.
“4ever and always,” she wrote over the throwback photo. “We all miss you everyday Virg. LLV”.
Other tributes from celebrities included Grown-ish actor Luka Sabbat, DJ and music producer Zack Bia, and Serena Williams.
On Instagram, the tennis star took the opportunity to discuss how the anniversary of Abloh’s passing brought up difficult emotions as she remembered the designer.
“It’s been a year and I still can’t put into words the sorrow that I feel,” she captioned the black and white image of the pair from a Nike campaign photoshoot. “Your touch on the world will live on forever and I couldn’t be more grateful to have witnessed it and had the chance to collaborate with you.
“I still miss you all the time. Forever and ever @virgilablo,” she concluded.
Off-White, the Milan-based streetwear brand which Abloh launched in 2013, remembered its founder by posting a lengthy caption highlighting some of his charity work with Surf Ghana and Freedom Skatepark, Ghana’s first skatepark which Abloh helped build.
“Virgil, you showed us all what we could be,” the tribute began. “You never cared of hierarchies or titles, you treated us all with respect and love and empowered us to think and act with confidence and to be unafraid to dare. You made us feel seen and heard. You made us a family.”
“You created room for others and were so generous with the one thing you didn’t have: your time. A true leader, mentor and inspiration. We miss you everyday. In your honor we keep dreaming and supporting Surf Ghana today. With love, forever. Your team”
Last year, Virgil Abloh’s family revealed the fashion influencer was privately fighting a years-long battle with a rare form of cancer known as cardiac angiosarcoma.
“For over two years, Virgil valiantly battled a rare, aggressive form of cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma,” Abloh’s family said. “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture.”
Virgil Abloh is survived by his wife Shannon Abloh (née Sundberg) and their two children: son Grey Abloh and daughter Lowe Abloh.