* Star designer Virgil Abloh, whose exhibition opened in Doha recently, dies after private battle with cancer
The world has lost a creative genius, said HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums, as she condoled the death of star designer Virgil Abloh on Sunday.
Abloh, fashion's highest profile Black designer and the creative mind behind Louis Vuitton's menswear collections, died yesterday of cancer, Vuitton's owner LVMH said, according to news agency Reuters.
The French luxury goods giant said Abloh, 41, had been battling cancer privately for years.
Qatar Museums had unveiled 'Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech', a mid-career retrospective of the acclaimed American artist and designer at the Fire Station’s Garage Gallery, recently.
In a post on Instagram, HE Sheikha Al Mayassa wrote: "The world has lost a creative genius. Virgil Abloh was in Doha only two weeks ago to open his latest exhibition, 'Figures of Speech', at the Doha Fire Station. His generosity, kindness, innovation and appeal are only a few words I can use to describe the visual memory I will always keep of him. A boy from Ghana who conquered the world of creativity through his interdisciplinary approach — pushing innovation to newest levels. I hope you will be inspired by his latest exhibition in Doha. The time he spent with the youth talking to them about his early beginnings will no doubt forever echo in their minds. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife and children. May his soul Rest In Peace."
Abloh, a US national who also worked as a DJ and visual artist, had been men's artistic director for Vuitton, the world's biggest luxury brand, since March 2018.
"Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom," LVMH's billionaire boss Bernard Arnault said in a statement.
His arrival at LVMH marked the marriage between streetwear and high-end fashion, mixing sneakers and camouflage pants with tailored suits and evening gowns. His influences included graffiti art, hip-hop and skateboard culture.
The style was embraced by the group as it sought to breathe new life into some labels and attract younger customers.
In July this year, LVMH expanded his role, giving him a mandate to launch new brands and partner with existing ones in a variety of sectors beyond fashion.
LVMH also bought a 60% stake in Abloh's Off-White label, which it folded into the spirits-to-jewellery conglomerate.
Abloh drew on messages of inclusivity to expand the Louis Vuitton label's popularity, weaving themes of racial identity into his fashion shows with poetry performances and art installations.
With an eye to reaching Asian consumers grounded by the coronavirus pandemic, the designer sent his collections of colourful suits and utilitarian-flavoured outerwear off to Shanghai last summer, when many labels cancelled fashion shows.
"Virgil Abloh was the essence of modern creativity," said an Instagram post by Alexandre Arnault, one of Bernard Arnault's sons and executive vice-president for product and communications at US jeweller Tiffany, which LVMH bought this year.