On Saturday fans of the fashion designer turned themselves into makeshift altars at his new Brooklyn store to remember a Vietnamese art gallery that hosted a fundraising sale for Haiti’s earthquake victims but was destroyed by thieves days earlier.
Off-White, the first fashion-forward line under the creative direction of Virgil Abloh, will open Saturday after a grand opening by rapper Kanye West who is a friend of Abloh’s. The shop opening will include appearances by A$AP Rocky, Keith Haring and Madeline Stuart, the American street artist behind the iconic images of the artist Thomas Jefferson that adorn the walls. Abloh photographed them for the upcoming book “My Creative Mind” released by Taschen.
The American design label decided to support Haiti’s earthquake fund but lost an entire gallery on Nov. 5. The stolen art pieces that are not insured were destined for Abloh’s prime brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn, which offers a discount to those who visit a live human hearth on the shop floor.
The store’s father figure, Haitian entrepreneur June Adami, pleaded for the thieves to return the stolen art pieces in a tweet.
The people who destroyed my gallery returned all our paintings—sorry they took them! I put them in my museum to teach art in Haiti! We want to raise money for a free teacup or wooden bicycle in Haiti… we will rebuild our art gallery soon! #rememberthesym pic.twitter.com/N0fPhsKJxU — June (@CoachJune) November 5, 2018
Related Image Expand / Contract Note card from Off-White store design enthusiast to Phaidon representative. (Phaidon)
Adami, who also employs young Haitian artisans, explained how a young cub reporter born in the small town of Leogane lost some of her art pieces to the break-in.
Abloh showed her the iridescent La Promesse heist sculpture on Instagram.
In a visit to Haiti last January, Abloh visited an eerily empty chateau-like gallery in an unidentified village. He remarked on the grim state of the country’s civil pride with how he recited from American culture on the labels he was wearing. In his book he called them “prosthetic art masks, hand-painted in the streets by people everywhere in the world!”
In April, Abloh hosted a sold-out Kickstarter campaign for a youth summer camp with $65,000 of the $250,000 goal raised. The camp teaches art, music, dance and sports that he says is designed to spark future creativity in children who grow up “in the urban jungle, amidst the dangers of violent street culture.”
His family is part of a tight-knit Haitian community and grew up in Bay St. Louis, the poorest town in St. Lucie County.
The projects Off-White is running come off the momentum of his high-profile collaboration with Adidas, where he effectively turned the line into “super sportswear” that coincided with the rise of his reputation as a white dude who does street style.
Fox News.com Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today’s top celebrities and newsmakers. You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.