Louis Vuitton has put 13-time Grammy-award winner Pharrell Williams in charge of its menswear line.
The producer, rapper, singer, and songwriter has been appointed to the role of creative director of the French fashion brand’s menswear line effective immediately, Louis Vuitton said in a statement yesterday (Feb. 14).
“I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008 for Louis Vuitton, as our new Men’s Creative Director. His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter,” chairman and chief executive Pietro Beccari said.
In addition to vision, Williams has the reach to grow the massive company, which posted a record $21.4 billion revenue in 2022. He is known for turning head-to-toe iconic looks, and his massive 14.3 million following on Instagram far eclipses other fashion moguls like Donatella Versace (9.8 million), Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing (9 million), and Jacquemus (5.3 million).
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Pharrell Williams succeeds Virgil Abloh
Virgil Abloh, the founder of streetwear brand Off-White, was hired by Louis Vuitton in 2018. His position has been vacant for over a year since Abloh, who was suffering from cancer, died in November 2021.
The “Happy” singer succeeds Abloh not just by taking over one of the top roles at the luxury group owned by the world’s richest man, Bernard Arnault. He is also carrying on a legacy of Black excellence, as Abloh was the first African American to be named the head designer of a European luxury fashion brand, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Quotable: Williams is a cool choice for Louis Vuitton
“We are going even further in the model of the artistic director focused on image as opposed to the couturier. Pharrell Williams knows how to capture coolness,” —Benjamin Simmenauer, professor at Institut Français de la Mode in Paris.
A brief history of Pharrell Williams’s collaboration with Louis Vuitton and other fashion labels
2003: Pharrell Williams and Japanese fashion designer Nigo found streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club (BBC) and sub-label Ice Cream, which makes skateboarding-inspired footwear
2004: Williams collaborates with Marc Jacobs, then Louis Vuitton creative director, on the famous sunglasses line Millionaire. Abloh reissues these in 2018.
2008: Williams collaborates with Louis Vuitton on jewelry with the Blason Collection
March 2014: Unisex scent G I R L is Pharrell’s first attempt at a fragrance, created in collaboration with Comme des Garçons
September 2014: Adidas announces a long-standing partnership with Williams, and the first drop constitutes of Stan Smiths in three bold colorways
November 2018: Williams begins a long-term collaboration with Chanel, turning the brand’s signature CC and N°5 logos into graffiti and embellished motifs
January 2022: Williams teases a collaboration with Tiffany’s—another LVMH brand—by flaunting diamond-studded sunglasses. Alexandre Arnault, who heads up product and communications at Tiffany & Co, has confirmed some co-designed Tiffany jewelry “on the way”
November 2022: Williams co-creates the last of seven reimaginings of Moncler’s Maya jacket in rubber for its 70th birthday
February 2022: Williams is among those slated to unveil new design concepts at Moncler’s latest co-creation initiative, Genius, during London Fashion Week
June 2023: Williams’s first collection for Louis Vuitton will be revealed during the Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.
👟 People fought each other to get Pharrell’s “unity” sneakers
🤑 LVMH and H&M earnings show luxury goods can weather more storms than fast fashion