Virgil Abloh's Off-White Show a Crushing Mob Scene

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Off-White Fall 2018

If you needed proof that the streetwear trend might be overheating, it was the street scene outside the designer's Paris Fashion Week show.

On Thursday at Paris Fashion Week, the chatter in the seats was about the announcement that Riccardo Tisci, the Kim Kardashian- and Kanye West-connected designer late of Givenchy, will be the next creative director of British luxury brand Burberry.

Tisci is no doubt being tapped for his Hollywood connections (Givenchy was a celebrity powerhouse under his tenure, dressing everyone from Cate Blanchett for the Oscars to Kim K. for her wedding), and for his flair for streetwear, namely his ability to turn out covetable graphic T-shirts, hoodies and sneakers that sell like hotcakes to the younger demographic.

Yes, streetwear has officially stormed the fashion runways, with everyone from Italian luxury giants Fendi and Versace (the ubiquitous logo T-shirts) to arty Belgian designer Dries Van Noten (those sweatpants!) showing riffs on the trend for the fall season.

But if you needed proof that the phenom might be overheating, it was the scene outside the Off-White show Thursday night on Rue Cambon, where the street turned into a mosh pit of terrifying pushing, screaming and even some punching as guests (including a few children) tried to get in to see designer Virgil Abloh’s latest collection, and the French police struggled to control the mob scene.

Clearly Abloh, who rose up the ranks as art director of  West’s tours and merchandise, has become a celebrity himself. He launched Off-White in 2014, and his high-minded take on streetwear (with the recognizable diagonal white-line logo appearing on everything from hoodies to army jackets to industrial belts and bags) has landed the brand in some of the most influential stores in the world, including Barneys, Bergdorf Goodman and Maxfield, on the backs of celebrities Tracee Ellis Ross, Justin Bieber and Beyonce, and forged limited-edition collaborations with Nike, Levi’s, Jimmy Choo and more.

For his fall women’s collection, he continued to up the luxe sophistication, booking top models Kaia Gerber and Bella Hadid for the runway, and mining a horsey theme for the clothes. Ladylike corset tops and dresses in beautiful pastoral blue jacquards were layered over white button-down shirts for a modern edge; quilted capes billowed over crocodile pants and riding boots. Also in the mix, such streetwear staples as athletic bodysuits, Off-White logo bra tops and Nike sneakers. 

There were a few boudoir-inspired looks, too, including a sheer peachy ruffle babydoll dress worn over a satin bodysuit, and another tiered tulle gown that looked fit for a red carpet. But at what price? It may have been a step forward in defining Abloh’s potent, feminine street-chic vision, but the street scene outside nearly made it a moot point.