Inside Off-White's Virgil Abloh's Star-Studded Inner Circle

This designer is pals with the likes of Bella Hadid, Naomi Campbell and more!
By Diana Nguyen Jun 02, 2018 10:00 AMTags
ESC: Off-White, Kendall Jenner, Kaia Gerber, Hailey BaldwinSamantha Deitch/BFA/REX/Shutterstock

Everybody wants to be friends with Off-White's Virgil Abloh. 

Not just because the American designer is nominated for a CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year, not because he was just announced as Louis Vuitton's menswear artistic director, and not even because supermodels like Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Naomi Campbell adore him. 

Off-White, a luxury streetwear brand, has only found mainstream success in the last four or five years, but the Chicago-based creative's talent was recognized far earlier than that. Virgil first got his start, thanks to Kanye West, who interned with the budding designer at Fendi in 2009. He then went to serve as the artistic director of Kanye and Jay Z's Watch the Throne tour. Fast forward to 2018, where everyone from Rihanna and Beyoncé to Susan Sarandon and Nicole Kidman don his garb. 

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To say he has grown important connections is an understatement—he has friends among fashion elite, music royalty and even the art world. To see how deep Virgil's star-studded network is, keep scrolling. 

Naomi Campbell, Fashion Elite

The designer and supermodel live in each other's support systems. If she attends a party celebrating the collaboration between Off-White and Jimmy Choo, he'll show up at her annual Fashion for Relief charity gala. "You are our future," Naomi once tweeted about the designer. Fun tidbit: Virgil gifted the model a custom pair of sneakers, which read "Air Naomi" from his highly anticipated Off-White x Nike collaboration.

Anna Wintour, Fashion Elite

If the implications from The Devil Wears Prada are true, and the Vogue head-honcho does sign off on every collection to hit the runway, she must've given Virgil many stamps of approval.

Carine Roitfeld, Fashion Elite

The designer and artistic director for Louis Vuitton menswear, in an LV suit no less, escorted the renown French fashion editor, in sparkling Balenciaga, down the 2018 AmfAR Cannes Gala red carpet. 

Bella Hadid, Model Squad

Designers tend to have many model friends since they live in the same industry—but Bella may also be Virgil's biggest fan. Besides walking on his runway, Bella is constantly on social media praising the designer. "Even tho it was past my bedtime on a work night- sometimes you just have to support your friends. Congrats genius !" she wrote on Instagram after attending a party celebrating his collaboration with Jimmy Choo. When Virgil was announced as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton, the model again took to social media, writing: "Virgil for Louis V! You deserve this in every way! I'm so proud of you! Here's a fun collage I made ! Congratulations buddy!!!! More wine! More history."

Kaia Gerber, Model Squad

If you haven't seen Cindy Crawford's model daughter walk the Off-White runway, you've undoubtedly seen her wear the high-fashion streetwear brand, well, in the streets. 

Hailey Baldwin, Model Squad

Not only did the pair accompany each other to The Fashion Awards 2017, but they are continuously supporting each other career's. "He included me in shows when other people wouldn't necessarily have wanted me to do them. He included me in shoots. He's just amazing and I really feel like he has my back," Hailey told Teen Vogue

Jourdan Dunn, Model Squad

Besides walking on his runway, the supermodel, along with Hailey Baldwin, were featured in a major editorial with Virgil for British Vogue

Kendall Jenner, Model Squad

While being paired up at the Met Gala doesn't necessarily mean friendship, an honest Facetime session does. "The pair have been friends for a couple of years, and Jenner refers to him fondly as 'Virg' over the phone," reports Vogue, later transcribing the duo's video call regarding the model's Met Gala fitting. 'Do you feel good in it?" he says immediately after hello. 'Dude,' Jenner replies, 'it's so sleek and so perfect with the vibe.'"

Lucien Smith, Art Circle

Not just a frequenter at Art Basel, Virgil is heavily invested in the art scene as well. A series of the American artist's paintings are displayed in Off-White's NYC flagship store. "Lucien and I, we're part of the same social scene of a generation of New Yorkers that come to the city, and input creativity and cultural brevity," Abloh told WWD

Takashi Murakami, Art Circule

Not only has Virgil done public discussions with the likes of Jeff Koons, but he also collaborates in exhibitions. Here, he attends Murakami & Abloh: Future History with the renown Japanese contemporary artist at the Gagosian Gallery in London. 

Justin Timberlake, Music Set

JT was also at the art exhibit...just sayin'. 

Liam Payne, Music Set

And so was Liam. 

Erykah Badu, Music Set

The designer posed with the singer-songwriter backstage at The Fashion Awards 2017.

Michael B. Jordan, Hollywood Pals

Not only was the Black Panther actor outfitted in Off-White for the 2018 Met Gala, he has been spotted at a few of Virgil's collaboration parties as well. 

Idris Elba, Hollywood Pals

So we're not quite sure how close the Thor actor is to the designer (or Brit rapper Tinie Tempah for that matter), but, boy, does Idris look happy here!

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