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.


Off-White’s Virgil Abloh is Taking On the IKEA Bag

When it comes to the fashion industry’s love for a certain blue polypropylene shopping bag, it’s time for Vetements to step aside because the “Frakta” bag is about to go a little bit off-white. Say goodbye to Demna Gvasalia’s ridiculous $2,145 blue leather IKEA knockoff and say hello to Virgil Abloh.

That’s right. The fav designer of your local hypebeast is moving from the cobblestone side streets of SoHo to the IKEA ferry and departing on the collaboration we never knew we wanted. In the Instagram post announcing the partnership, Abloh explains what he’s bringing to the project: “We’re in a moment where IKEA is transcending, and people are bringing this ‘do it yourself’ culture to the blue bag. What I’m most interested in is doing that process in partnership with the brand. It’s allowing me to put my opinion on a classic. It’s unique, and distinctly as much of off-white as it’s IKEA.”

While we generally associate IKEA with a steady stream of curse words reserved for assembling their furniture, the partnership does make sense. Abloh comes from a background in architecture and has made a name for himself in fashion for his youthful deconstruction of design norms under his brand. It doesn’t sound like his magic touch stops and ends with the “Frakta,” though.

Abloh sat down with Marcus Engman, Ikea’s head of design, during the “Ikea Democratic Design Days” on Wednesday to talk about his focus on creating solutions for young people in small places and even mused about designing college dormitories. For Abloh, the collaboration is all about being about to “spread the message of good design and sustainability.”

You can check out Engman and Abloh’s talk in the video below by jumping to the 19-minute mark. 

Who Are the Eight Finalists for the LVMH Prize?

We’ve been following the LVMH prize as the pool of potential winners is narrowed down. See here to learn about the original 26 shortlisted candidates. Here are the eight who will continue to the last round:

· Arthur Arbesser, by Arthur Arbesser (Austrian designer based in Milan) Womenswear presented in Milan.

· Coperni, by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant (French designers based in Paris). Womenswear presented in Paris.

· Craig Green, by Craig Green (British designer based in London). Menswear presented in London.

· Faustine Steinmetz, by Faustine Steinmetz (French designer based in London). Womenswear presented in London.

· Jacquemus, by Simon Porte Jacquemus (French designer based in Paris). Womenswear presented in Paris.

· Marques’ Almeida, by Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida (Portuguese designers based in London). Womenswear presented in London.

· Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh, by Virgil Abloh (American designer based in Milan). Menswear and Womenswear presented in Paris.

· Vetements, by Demna Gvasali (German designer based in Paris). Womenswear presented in Paris.

This years finalists represent a wide geographic range–they are from France, Great Britain, Portugal, Austria and the United States of America. “Two of them design menswear (Craig Green and Virgil Abloh). One had already been a finalist last year (Jacquemus). Two of them were shortlisted, but had not managed to reach that level of the competition (Craig Green and Marques Almeida),” the press release noted.

Of these eight finalists, a winner will be selected on May 22nd at the Louis Vuitton Foundation.