Inside Virgil Abloh’s Unexpected Private World

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As for work-life balance, the universe may have basically ordered him to slow down at just the right time.

Last September, the Off-White Women’s Spring/Summer 2020 show at Paris’ Pompidou Centre had to go on without him because he was, simply, exhausted.

“Ultimately, everything is fine,” he said at the time, explaining his absence, “but the doctor told me, ‘this pace that you’ve sort of pushed your body–to fly all these miles, do all these different projects–is not good for your health.'”

At least he could rest easier in October, when parent company Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy reported a 16 percent increase in revenue, year over year, driven by sales at Louis Vuitton and Dior.

But it’s not as if even a doctor’s warning (not even the one we all got from the CDC) could slow him down for long. “Work is relaxing to me,” he told GQ in 2018. “I’m happy making things. So relaxing is the opposite of making something, probably not the healthiest, but…” He paused. “So, I gotta jet.”

Forced to stay put, or at least given license to remain in one place for longer than he was used to, Abloh isn’t shying away from the new challenges he’s facing as a purveyor of luxurious indulgences—no matter how work-at-home-worthy those $350 Off-White T-shirts and $515 sneakers are.

“It’s a weird thing, the importance of fashion,” he mused to Document in May 2020, “especially when people are quarantining at home, worried about their health and safety—where does that land amongst everything? I think it’s just important, in any sort of creative expression, to ask questions and think how it relates to the humanity aspect at hand.”