Virgil Abloh and Takashi Murakami Unveil Powerhouse Collab Just in Time for Paris Men's Fashion Week

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Fashion hottest new star reunites with the contemporary Pop art icon for an exhibition of imaginative new works at Gagosian Paris.

When Virgil Abloh makes his debut as the artistic director of menswear for Louis Vuitton at Paris Men’s Fashion Week on June 21, it promises to be one of the most-watched fashion moments of the year. But it’s not the only project the American architect-turned-designer is dropping in the French capital this week. He’s also reuniting with another creative with deep ties to Vuitton, Takashi Murakami, the artist known as the Andy Warhol of Japan, whose rainbow-colored monogram handbag designs were a favorite of the brand’s art-savvy shoppers for more than a decade.

The exhibition "Technicolor 2," which runs from June 23–July 28 at Gagosian Paris, pairs the Pop Art phenom known for his “Superflat” style with the designer who brought conceptual streetwear, honed at his own Off-White label, to one of Europe’s most storied luxury fashion houses. The collaboration, which the gallery describes as a “stream of freewheeling, punkish mash-ups,” has produced a variety of work, from sculpture to paintings—all steeped in layers of pop culture reference seen through each artist’s signature symbology.

“We want to see the newest things. That is because we want to see the future, even if only momentarily,” Murakami said of the collaboration in a statement. “It is the moment in which, even if we don’t completely understand what we have glimpsed, we are nonetheless touched by it. This is what we have come to call art.”

Takashi Murakami and Virgil Abloh, "TIMES NATURE", 2018, acrylic on canvas mounted on board, 59 1/16 × 59 1/16 inches (150 × 150 cm) © Virgil Abloh and © Takashi Murakami

The exhibition comes on the heels of “future history,” Abloh and Murakami’s previous collaborative exhibition at Gagosian London earlier this year. “We are driven by an innate ambition to make artworks that are shaped by societal observations—in a variety of media—which by their existence produce a new cultural impact,” Abloh said in the statement.  And it there wasn’t enough buzz to cement Abloh’s place at the center of an emerging early-21st-century canon, the artist will get his first-ever museum retrospective in 2019 at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

But before that, art lovers and hypebeasts alike will be able to catch Abloh and Murakami in Paris, when they’ll be at the exhibition’s opening reception. And befitting a pop-culture mashup of this magnitude, there is, of course, a hashtag. Follow it all via #MurakamiandAbloh.