No hard feelings: Paris fashion star Abloh reaches out to Kanye West

US fashion designer Virgil Abloh after the presentation of the men's Fall/Winter 2018/2019 collection he designed for Off-White.
US fashion designer Virgil Abloh after the presentation of the men's Fall/Winter 2018/2019 collection he designed for Off-White.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Virgil Abloh paid tribute to his friend and longtime collaborator Kanye West as the American designer took star billing as Paris men's fashion week began on Tuesday (June 19).

Relations between the pair have been tested since Abloh was named head of menswear at Louis Vuitton in March, with the rapper saying it was "hurtful" to lose his muse and erstwhile artistic director.

West has made no secret of his own ambitions to lead a major luxury brand as a designer.

He revealed last month that he was once in talks with Louis Vuitton's owner, French fashion magnate Bernard Arnault.

Abloh - the son of Ghanaian immigrants - will show his own Off-White label in Paris on Wednesday (June 20) before making his debut bow with the world's biggest luxury brand the next day.

As he put the finishing touches to his collections, he posted a photo of West to his 2.3 million Instagram followers with the words "the architect of it all".

West's wife Kim Kardashian responded with emojis of a heart and two fires to signal her approval. The rapper - who has his own Yeezy line for Adidas - remained silent.

But he told US radio star Charlamagne tha God in a wide-ranging interview last month that there were no hard feelings.

"These things are hurtful when you are working with a talent like... Virgil and somebody comes through and says 'Bam! I am going to take Virgil'.

"There is some validation in that someone whom I came up with is now the head (of menswear) of Louis Vuitton," West added.

Abloh, 38, is only the second black man to rise to the top of a big Paris fashion house, with French designer Olivier Rousteing responsible for both Balmain's men and women's lines.

As well as his nod to his former employer, Abloh dropped hints on social media that he was about to give the aristocratic Vuitton label a strong dose of black empowerment and streetwear style.