Pop Icon Pharrell is now a Fashion Designer for Louis Vuitton
The fashion and entertainment industries, which have long been entwined, were even more intertwined on Tuesday when Louis Vuitton selected Pharrell Williams, an American rapper and producer, as its new creative director for men’s wear.
The French luxury company stated on Instagram that it has recruited Mr. Williams almost sixteen months after the untimely passing of its previous menswear designer, Virgil Abloh, in 2021. Mr. Williams is a visionary whose creative universes span music, art, and fashion, establishing himself as a cultural worldwide icon, the firm said in a statement.
The British designers Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose, as well as the American designers Telfar Clemens and Colm Dillane, better known as KidSuper, have also been mentioned as potential successors to Mr. Abloh.
Mr. Williams, 49, finally earned what is considered one of the most prestigious creative director positions in men’s design. Pietro Beccari, who joined Louis Vuitton from Dior last month, made his first significant move with this hiring.
Since 2004, Mr. Williams, who was the first male ambassador for Chanel, has worked intermittently for Louis Vuitton. Recently, he collaborated with the jeweler Tiffany & Company, which, like Louis Vuitton, is a subsidiary of the LVMH luxury goods conglomerate. Mr. Williams was seldom without his diamond-studded Tiffany & Company sunglasses at the January men’s fashion shows in Paris, and he also wore them to the Grammys. His debut collection for Louis Vuitton will debut at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris in June.
Mr. Williams’s comeback to Louis Vuitton coincides with his return to designing menswear. Along with the Japanese designer Nigo, he established important streetwear companies like as Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream earlier in this century (who is now the artistic director at Kenzo, which is also owned by LVMH).
Yet, Mr. Williams’ ascension to the apex of high-end ready-to-wear exemplifies a trend among luxury goods manufacturers: placing their destiny in the hands of multi-hyphenate celebrities rather than professional designers. Rihanna, whose Fenty apparel brand with LVMH closed in 2021, and the controversial artist Ye, formerly Kanye West, have both been welcomed by luxury fashion in recent years.
The recent Louis Vuitton men’s wear event in Paris, for example, included shockingly costly sets, a front row lined with stars from K-Pop, Hollywood, and hip-hop, and a supercharged performance by the Spanish singer Rosala, who performed from atop a modified automobile.
Louis Vuitton, established in 1854, is the cornerstone of the fortune collected by Bernard Arnault, who was recently named as the world’s richest person. Men’s clothing is a relatively small portion of the brand’s overall income, but it remains a source of confidence as the fastest-growing sector in a luxury goods business that continues to face headwinds from the worldwide pandemic and the loss of markets in China and Russia.
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