In a groundbreaking move that has sent ripples through the fashion industry, music and fashion icon Pharrell Williams has made his mark as the new Menswear Creative Director for Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2024 collection.
On the 20th of June at the start of Paris Fashion Week, Pharrell brought his global audience to the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris to present his first collection for the French luxury house, in which a beautifully crafted display was shown.
In an interview with Hypebeast magazine, Pharrell explains that the collection hinges on the idea of “LVERS,” meaning that “if you appreciate Louis Vuitton, you’re a lover of the curation. You love the product but deeper than that, it’s a love for the culture that embodies a like-mindedness of taste.”
His first designs for the house fit a consumerist framework. Covered in the brand’s signature prints and monograms, they telegraphed Louis Vuitton from a distance. But they were also imbued with a sense of impenitent joy that was paramount to the show.
A handful of the first models wore tailored suits with matching shorts, a look Williams has become personally associated with on the red carpet. Others wore rain boots and carried mini trunks covered in a digitised version of Vuitton’s Damier check pattern, a reimagining of the original jacquard and pearl embroidery throughout. The classic Speedy bag was revived in bright, primary colours and dangled along long legs ending in chunky socks and lug-soled T-strap Mary Janes.
Williams is considered one of the best-dressed men in music, and his own personal style clearly served as inspiration for a handful of looks, perhaps none more obvious than that worn by former Saint Laurent creative director Stefano Pilati. Pilati’s glasses were lined in pearls that framed his eyes, his tailored jacket embroidered in pearl Damier and styled with pleated wool shorts.
While Williams brings plenty of star power, the guest list for the show did not disappoint. The show saw a star-studded attendance from the likes of Jared Leto, Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, Naomi, Lewis Hamilton, Maluma, J Balvin, Jaden Smith, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Beyoncé, and even JAY-Z. Pharrell’s reach is immeasurable, fusing multiple elements of his show together with his musicality and artistry. Other designers including Jeremy Scott, JW Anderson, and long-time friend NIGO were all seen sitting front row supporting the designer.
Leading up to the show, Pietro Beccari, who was appointed CEO of the house in January, told The New York Times, “It was important that we found someone having a broader spectrum than being a very fantastic designer, which is great for the industry and we have many of them.”
Since being appointed as the Creative Director for menswear at Louis Vuitton in February, Pharrell Williams has remained relatively tight-lipped. The position had been vacant since the untimely passing of 41-year-old Virgil Abloh in November 2021, making Williams' appointment all the more significant.
Online, fashion and music enthusiasts engaged in passionate debates about whether a renowned hip-hop artist and multi-talented individual could effectively occupy one of the industry's most prestigious design roles. However, the consensus among all was that Williams' hiring represented a notable shift in Louis Vuitton's focus, placing culture squarely at the core of their vision.
Watch the Louis Vuitton SS24 Show here.
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