Virgil Abloh Livestreams His New IKEA Collab


IKEA is cool now – as we told you this last month, when we had three NYC creatives repurpose their iconic Frakta bag in our April issue of alexa BlackBook. But now they’re really taking things to the next level, collaborating on an entire capsule with Off-White (and new Louis Vuitton menswear) designer Virgil Abloh.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last year (or have spotty WiFi), Abloh already teamed up with the Swedish mega-retailer on a super meta shopping bag last summer. Since then, there have been a ton of rumors about what fashion’s latest enfant terrible could be up to. He’s dropped some hints on Instagram, leading hype machines and fast fashion connoisseurs to the conclusion that IKEA would get the full Off-White treatment sooner than later. And for once, the Insta-sleuths were right: last night, Abloh previewed his all new IKEA x VIRGIL collection via livestream.



The collection includes: a wooden chair in Abloh (and IKEA’s) minimalist style; a glass chest of drawers, perfect for showcasing your new Off-White Nike Air Prestos; a triangular doorstep (yeah, we know); and handshaven ironic “BLUE” and “KEEP OFF” rugs. Abloh also shared a new version of his “SCULPTURE” Frakta.

Called “MARKERAD,” the product line is apparently curated specifically for millennials – as if that weren’t incredibly obvious – as was the livestreamed preview. Via YouTube, the designer walked his audience through each prototype, answering questions about his inspirations and intentions for each design. Abloh also encouraged his audience to leave comments and questions in the live chat and on Instagram (using the hashtag #IKEAxVIRGIL) so he can continue tweaking the designs before they drop in June.

The collab is coming at a perfect time – and for both parties. Abloh’s stock has only continued to rise, especially with the 38-year-old’s new Louis Vuitton appointment. As for IKEA, the brand has seemingly transformed into a fashion powerhouse, teaming up with designers like Walter Van Beirendonck and celebrity stylist B. Akerlund, as well as a much hyped over Vetements collaboration that never actually came out. Consequently, influencers and streetwear fanatics ended up putting their own spin on the IKEA trend, creating everything from Frakta thongs to IKEA bongs and Yeezy’s. What a world. Just remember kids, BlackBook did it first.

Watch the full IKEA x VIRGIL livestream below and revisit our Frakta Fever article here.



Photos courtesy of Eddie Lee/Hypebae


alexa BlackBook: IKEA Fever


IKEA has long been a staple for both bargain hunters and streamline-design lovers. Now, fashion kings like Virgil Abloh (just named Louis Vuitton’s new menswear designer) are repurposing the store’s iconic blue-and-yellow logo on inventive streetwear. 
 In honor of the Swedish fever, we asked three creatives for their takes on Ikea’s iconic “Frakta” bag.


Brooklyn garden whiz Brook Klausing recycled his “Frakta” bag as a pretty planter.


Brook Klausing, a garden designer and owner of Brooklyn’s Brook Landscape, elected to use his “Frakta” bag as a flower planter, putting his own spin on eco-upscaling. “We drew inspiration from fast fashion and fast furniture to create our own version: fast foliage,” he tells Alexa.


LA artist Neil Raitt adorned the trusty tote with his own palm print.


Los Angeles-based artist Neil Raitt (who points to Bob Ross’ kitschy 1980s TV program “The Joy of Painting” as an inspiration for his repetitive landscapes — on exhibit at LA’s Anat Ebgi gallery and this year’s NYC Armory Show) also took a crack at the big blue bag. He inlaid a palm-tree print, which he originally created in 2016 for an exhibition at Mon Chéri gallery in Brussels, to create a portable piece of art.

“When you look at an Ikea bag, with its blue plastic and yellow lettering, it’s immediately recognizable,” he says. “So, I wanted to bring in something equally accessible, like a palm tree.”


Interior designer Ryan Korban stitched a kitschy pillow — complete with Ikea trim.


And finally, New York-based interior designer Ryan Korban (who’s created eye-catching spaces for all manner of high-end fashion labels, including Alexander Wang’s NYC flagship and Balenciaga stores across the globe) dreamed up a DIY Ikea throw pillow. It’s the perfect spot to rest your head after putting together all that furniture.


Photos by Lizzy Snaps Sullivan; Tamara Beckwith; Courtesy of Neil Raitt and Anat Ebgi.


Have You Tried Knife Ping Pong?

We, at BlackBook, highly recommend you try this at home. (Except for the fact that we don’t.) Have you ever tried Knife Ping Pong? It involves: knives, ping pong paddles, and Swedish people. The stunt group, Tumba Ping Pong, have combined table tennis with deadly art of knife attack. The result: We watch.

Thank you Sweden for producing such nice people with amazing knife/ping pong proclivities. This video confirms: Sweden – it’s not all about Ikea anymore! 

A Delightful, Self-Effacing Tour of Sweden From Eurovision 2013

Once again, the Eurovision Song Contest has come and gone, the people of the Eurovision Broadcasting Union nations have spoken and another pop song has been chosen as champion. But while Danish pop singer Emmelie de Forest’s "Only Teardrops" ran away with a big victory in the finals, one of the most memorable numbers of the finals wasn’t in the competition at all. As part of her hosting duties for this year’s contest, held in Malmö, Sweden,  popular comedian Petra Mede was charged with the task of introducing Europe and the world at large to Sweden and its people.

Sweden has a long and illustrious history in the Eurovision Song Contest, from helping assert ABBA’s pop dominance ("Waterloo" was a Eurovision winner) to 1991 winner Carola to last year’s anthem from Loreen, "Euphoria." And the thing about Eurovision is that the winning country hosts the following year, which means the host country has an opportunity to showcase itself in whichever fashion it chooses. And, for Sweden, that choice was a big, cheesy and wonderful production number. As we all know, there’s far more to Sweden than ABBA, IKEA and other four-letter, all-caps cultural signifiers.

Mede and her team decided to run with the theme, joyfully lampshading every regular stereotype, global perception or other trope about Sweden, from horse-meat meatballs to its polite, orderly people to its successful women’s soccer team. It’s all in good fun, and bonus points for lines like "There’s Volvo, and Garbo, the best loganberries / and all of our problems digesting our dairy." Watch for something light for you to ease into your week with. 

Five People Picked to Live In An IKEA Train Station Apartment

Living below ground in a train station conjures up images of dirt and grime and lunatic mole people. But IKEA, the Swedish design house responsible for making the mass produced furniture seen in every New York City apartment, has gone into the Paris Metro’s Auber station and niced-up the joint with their wooden wares.  They’ve created 54 square meters of livable space and have five people crashing there for six days. Things don’t stop being polite, but they definitely get surreal. 

Similar to Mark Lives in Ikea, in which comedian Mark Malkoff lived inside a Paramus, N.J. IKEA and recorded his every move, the people chosen from IKEA’s Facebook page are being taped the whole time, Real World-style.  Passersby are also able to look in and watch them go about their daily activities. 

Take a look as they Occupy the subway: