Fashion designer Virgil Abloh died on Sunday at the age of 41 from a rare form of cancer. According to Abloh’s official Instagram account, he was diagnosed in 2019 with cardiac angiosarcoma, but chose to battle it privately. The multi-hyphenate—he designed furniture and other home products for IKEA, had his first museum exhibition, “Figures of Speech,” organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, founded fashion house Off-White, and collaborated with Kanye West after a Fendi internship together—was trained as an architect at the Illinois Institute of Technology, after receiving a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2002.
Abloh frequently took inspiration from architecture, choosing as the backdrop for his fashion shoots such influential buildings as Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion and Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye. Born near Chicago to Ghanaian immigrant parents, Abloh was the first African-American to head a French luxury fashion house when he became artistic director at Louis Vuitton in 2018.
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