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30 Sep

Every thing you could know from IB Kamara’s first

SS23 collection “CELEBRATION” broke away from the codes of Virgil Abloh, while honouring his freedom of thought

Last season, Off-White’s atelier paid homage to its founder Virgil Abloh with a set that travelled through among the late designer’s biggest hits. Not long after, longtime Abloh collaboratir and Dazed editor-in-chief IB Kamala was appointed as his successor, taking up a recent role inside the company that can see him steer the brand’s creative vision into the long run. Today’s collection, titled “CELEBRATION”, shall be Kamara’s first. 

Shrouded in all the standard secrecy, the one clue as to what the SS23 would offer got here via a giddy Instagram post, featuring a model doused in blue paint, bouncing out and in of clouds. “A celebration of life, progress, and recent work in process,” the invitation read ahead of the show, promising to solidify “pillars that Virgil embodied: togetherness, kindness, freedom of thought, and ultimately, what it’s to be human.” As we ready ourselves for the following chapter in Abloh’s legacy, here’s every thing that went down on the SS23 Off-White show.

Off-White shows are sometimes crazy, with 1000’s of fans of the brand and its mega famous attendees crowding around the doorway attempting to get a glimpse of what’s happening inside. This time was even wilder than normal, with screaming kids clambering on top of parked vans for a greater vantage point. Walking the blue carpet as much as the show space were the likes of Naomi Campbell, Yasin Bey, Chloe Bailey, Evan Mock, Rickey Thompson, and Honey Dijon, in addition to the long-lasting Erykah Badu, who’s having a little bit of a fashion week momenté at once.

As guests bundled into the venue, an unlimited LED, Fortnite-style cube rose from the ground, bathed in an ominous cobalt light. After a few minutes, a video was projected onto the structure, with the identical Blue Man Group of Y-front wearing models manning a carousel of cloud-strewn doorways – which VIP guests used as some type of celestial backdrop for his or her content, naturally. On the sudden lock of a key, models began to pace through open doorways, multiplying before them ad infinitum, until suddenly, the protagonist fell through a cloud, and broke right into a recent dimension. 

Lights submerged and percussion began to crash overhead, giving option to the show’s opening look: a motorbike jacket and mini-skirt combo, sliced on the midriff to disclose a lace bodysuit underneath – the entire thing practically begging for a Rihanna endorsement. Cropped bomber jackets zipped-up to the mouth, while tailored vests and jackets bore floor-skimming lapels. The gathering appeared to trace the anatomy of the human body in a series of trompe l’oeil affectations, with a faded skeleton appearing across denim skirts and suits, knitted polos, sheer white columns, and technical bodycons. But body-mapped bones soon shapeshifted into cyborgian, post-human outlines, emerging on the surface of fatigued suiting throughout the gathering. 

One other motif this season was a hydrangea – a logo of gratitude, grace and sweetness – which every guest was gifted before the show. Their lilypad petals were festooned across overblown jackets, LBDs, and baroque collars, and delicately placed onto nipples, ears, and swimming cap-style hoods – one among which draped right into a lace-embroidered trapeze-lined dress. As we’ve seen across SS23, the midriff was very much on show, an erogenous zone exposed under cropped and hacked blazers and careening cut-outs. Pointless to say, this collection was all in regards to the color BLUE – which is maybe Off-White’s answer to the Valentino pink or Ferragamo’s red. Though it was interspersed with knife-cut, black tailoring, and puffer jackets undone with trailing threads, it was further messaged with the gradual arrival of a head-to-toe painted dance troupe, who contorted their bodies in languid shapes, thronging around that big old cube.

…which only became apparent if you happen to prised your eyes away from the catwalk and looked up – the Parisian duo climbed up onto the highest of the cube on the centre of the show to play a special live set.

Though there have been whispers of streetwear and a slight utilitarian accent – particularly on all those wipe-clean bags, which were worn across the front of the body like one among Abloh’s signature harnesses – this collection went beyond the now-familiar codes that Virgil Abloh had set. There have been no tulle-jacket hybrids, no Nike link-ups, no 3D cityscapes, and barely anything was put in quotation marks. Since Abloh’s premature death within the November of 2021, countless exhibitions, posthumous collaborations, and commemorative collections have come to the surface – but perhaps it fell on the shoulders of his own brand to maneuver the conversation forward, to look ahead and permit a recent generation of creatives to interpret his legacy. 

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