My Afternoon with Virgil Abloh

We spent the weekend hiding from the heat with Virgil Abloh. On Saturday, we took ourselves on a date to check out his exhibit “Figures of Speech” at the MCA — a multi-disciplinary look at the Chicago artist’s work across formats and cities: runway pieces from Milan, tee shirts from Colette of Paris, a custom gown for Beyonce, light and sound installations, special projects with Swedish design house, Ikea, Nike sneakers, and beyond.

Virgil Abloh is a wunderkind. His formal roots are in architecture but that was just a jumping off point. As an architecture student, he was heavily influenced by Rem Koolhaas and started his foray into fashion. He later took an internship at Fendi, in the same class as Kanye West, and the two became fast friends and collaborators. Abloh went on to collaborate with Yeezy and form his own collection called Off-White, and eventually became artistic director of Louis Vuitton, with side projects in sculpture, lighting and DJ’ing, including a grammy for the album art for “Watch The Throne”. 

Abloh is one of those artists we find to be so inspirational because his scope and geography are unlimited. Why stick to Chicago when you can have Chicago, Paris, Milan, and the entire art world? 

Mr. Abloh’s been on our mind because we’ve recently collaborated with Nike Lab in Chicago on a number of events, and love the alchemy of that space. At our most recent event, they asked visitors to donate any pair of shoes they didn’t want to be broken down and transformed into a community basketball court in the city. Dope eh? 

At EC, we’re students of the world and cultural sponges. Our menu and cocktail concepts are a fusion of everything we come into contact with, from a rooftop spritz in Milan to a back alley in Tokyo. Needless to say, we’re a big fan of VA’s and spent a few hours photographing, sketching and thinking on his work — and our next projects — over a cold brew and berry oat bar downstairs at Marisol. The next time the heat index rises to 95 degrees, don’t miss “Figures of Speech” — it’s a Chicago experience.