Tall, toned, goddess-like models strode down Off-White’s runway. And, no we’re not talking about Bella Hadid or Kaia Gerber, though they were there too. At the label’s runway show in Paris, a new coterie of models were initiated into fashion week. They weren't 16-years-old and Instragram famous, nor were they musicians crossing over into fashion, but medal-winning athletes.
The spring summer 2019 collection was aptly named ‘Track and Field’ and it was modeled by eight sportswomen. ‘This season, I was inspired by the voice of the athlete and the power of sport to impact positive and transformative change globally’, designer Virgil Abloh tells of his casting of British sprinter Dina Asher-Smith, Olympic jumper Vashti Cunningham, high-jumper Cecilia Yeung, American track and field sprinter English Gardner, heptathletes Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Nafissatou Thiam, gold medalist Catherine Ibarguen and runner Rénelle Lamote.
See: The Off-White's SS19 Collection
Who is the most important person in fashion right now? Anna Wintour, possibly. Karl Lagerfeld, perhaps. Or is it Virgil Abloh? Kanye West’s collaborated, Louis Vuitton’s menswear director and Off-White’s founder? This American designer is directing the intersection between high fashion, streetwear and music and now he’s bringing the sports world into his fold.
After collaborating with Serena Williams on that tutu tennis dress and designing one of Nike’s most buzzed-about sneaker collaborations, this is just another step towards Abloh’s merging of the fashion and sports universes.
As the designer said, 'Sport, like fashion, shares a common language that seeks to unite cultures, break down barriers and celebrate the power of the human spirit'.