PFW

Serena Williams Joined the Supermodels at Off-White’s Virgil Abloh Tribute

Serena Williams walking Off-White fall 2022
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain via Getty Images

On Monday, exactly three months after Virgil Abloh’s untimely passing, the team behind Off-White attempted to do the impossible: live up to the Paris Fashion Week caliber of its trailblazing founder, who died after a private three-year battle with a rare aggressive cancer at just 41. And since Abloh was, of course, so beloved across industries, they had no shortage of help. Look no further than the fact that Serena Williams hit the catwalk, making for her major runway debut and second headline-making Off-White look to date. The 40-year-old tennis star memorably wore a black tutu to the 2018 U.S. Open, a few days after another of her looks was banned at its French counterpart. Casually sandwiched into the middle of the lineup, she emerged in a skin-tight sheered dress worn atop ruched leggings, the purple leather-clad rapper Jim Jones hot on her heels.

From there, the casting kicked into high gear. Bella Hadid opened the show’s second portion in a high-low dress with voluminous puff shoulders, dangling a pair of stilettos that had been fashioned into a purse. Then came Joan Smalls, shushing the crowd in a sparkly top that read “no snitching,” as well as Kendall Jenner, channeling Catwoman in a “little black dress” with cat ears. Karlie Kloss and Gigi Hadid both wore giant layered tulle skirts, and it wasn’t long before one of their forebears, Cindy Crawford, emerged in another.

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And boy, did Crawford bring company. Adut Akech made her entrance alongside her “mama” Naomi Campbell, who forewent a shirt in favor of a necklace that matched the crystal chandelier at the set’s center. Kaia Gerber also followed in her mom’s footsteps, and Victoria’s Secret alums Lais Ribeiro and Candice Swanepoel reunited. The latter also reunited with her costar in the label’s fall 2021 campaign, the DJ Honey Dijon. Then, Karen Elson took things up a notch by channeling her blazer, which read “smoking,” and lighting up a cigarette. She was joined by fellow vets Helena Christensen, Bianca Balti, Caroline Trentini, Amber Valletta, and Mariacarla Boscono.

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But wait—there’s more. The grand finale served as a tribute to another late, great designer. Alexander McQueen’s one-time muse Debra Shaw closed out the show in a giant white tulle gown that was partly spraypainted, seemingly in reference to the designer’s iconic spring 1999 finale. It was all such a spectacle, we nearly forgot to mention that Rihanna and her baby bump were among those taking it in from the front row.