Gone But Not Forgotten – Honoring The Fashion Legends We Lost This Year

February 28, 2022

Graphic by Emma Weeden 

The definition of loss is ours to create, in an attempt to honor those who continue to inspire us every day. And Virgil Abloh, Thierry Mugler, and André Leon Talley were three of the biggest inspirations of them all.

The fashion industry is no stranger to loss. From legends like Gianni Versace to visionaries like Alexander McQueen, countless fashion icons have passed away far too soon. But even though they may be gone, they are anything but forgotten. Brands who have suffered loss are always willing to celebrate their beginnings. Whether that means organizing memorial runway shows or creating redesigns of famous dresses, the definition of loss is ours to create, in an attempt to honor those who continue to inspire us every day.

Within the past year, the fashion industry has lost three of its most iconic figures–Virgil Abloh, Thierry Mugler, and André Leon Talley. These icons each left a unique mark on the fashion world, using their creativity to change the rules of fashion and inspire others through their designs. But their impact is far from over. Instead, their legacies grow stronger with every blazer, shoe, handbag, and collection that’s designed in their name. Follow along as I trace the careers of these incredible men.

Image via Vogue


Think of a dress. Make it slightly avant-garde, with just the right amount of drama. Now add in a few futuristic elements to finish it off. Chances are, you’ll get a dress similar to one designed by Thierry Mugler. Just like Virgil Abloh, Thierry Mugler’s designs knew no limits–they were risky, luxurious, and fascinating. They always had a habit of catching your attention, and clearly, they caught the attention of numerous celebrities. Throughout his career, Mugler designed dresses for Cardi B, Megan Fox, and most famously, Kim Kardashian. But his designs were more than just eye-catching–they were able to tell a story. The dresses he designed in the late 80s and 90s have recently grown even more popular than they were in the past, proving that Mugler was always ahead of his time when it came to envisioning the future of fashion.

Although the Mugler brand has yet to organize any public memorials for Mr. Mugler, many celebrities (Carla Bruni, Beyonce, Diana Ross, Marc Jacobs, to name a few) have already taken to social media to share their condolences. In one of her recent Instagram posts, Kim Kardashian paid homage to Mugler, saying, “You always said beauty will save the world - and you really believed it was a better place because of the beauty all around! Thank you for the beauty.”

Image via Insider


Virgil Abloh was an absolute visionary. Not only did he find a way to merge the comfort of streetwear with the luxury of couture, but he also managed to redefine the concept of “high fashion” in the process. Best known for creating the world-renowned fashion label “Off-White” and for serving as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for menswear, Virgil enjoyed pushing the boundaries of fashion and art whenever possible. In the future, he will continue to be remembered for his awe-inspiring style, his unconventional take on fashion, and his ability to influence the artists surrounding him.

Those who knew Virgil best wasted no time in honoring his memory. On Nov. 30, 2021, Virgil’s last Louis Vuitton collection was showcased in Miami, followed by a loving tribute for Virigil himself. The tribute was topped off with hot air balloons and a gorgeous skyline backdrop, and several celebrities were there in attendance, including Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, and more. In addition, Off-White stores around the world have paid homage to Abloh by clearing the merchandise off of their shelves and temporarily replacing it with bouquets of flowers. The Off-White team said it best: “In a world where kindness is rare, where hierarchies still carry weight and where fashion can change the rules but sometimes ends up creating new ones, there was you…We love you, Virgil.”

Image via Vogue Arabia


Although he never designed anything personally, André Leon Talley was one of the most influential people in the fashion industry. He was the first black man to serve as creative director for Vogue, a position he retained from 1988 to 1995. He then returned to the magazine in 1998 and worked as an editor-at-large until 2013. Talley was best known for his flamboyant style and his outgoing personality. He encouraged diversity within the fashion industry, and he was passionate about supporting young designers and giving them the tools they needed to succeed. His efforts to create a more inclusive and welcoming atmosphere in the industry have helped solidify his status as a fashion icon and an inspiration to aspiring artists.

Talley was recently honored at the sixth annual Blue Jacket Fashion Show during New York Fashion Week. He was originally supposed to serve as host for the show, like in years past, but instead, designer Frederick Anderson decided to dedicate the show to his memory. On top of this, Vogue has already released several articles commemorating the man who helped transform their publication, with Vogue columnist Nicole Phelps stating, “His enthusiasm was prodigious.”

Although these fashion legends have passed away, their legacies are still being honored by the millions of individuals who were inspired by their lives, and they will continue to be honored for many years to come. Though trends and brands may evolve over time, true style never fades, and these icons embody true style. Not only did they raise the standards of high couture, but they also weren’t afraid to express themselves through their designs–-and that’s what truly separates the greats from the followers. Just like Versace and Alexander McQueen, their names will forever be associated with the empires they left behind. ■

Graphic by Emma Weeden

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