Louis Vuitton has named Pharrell Williams as the new creative director of its menswear division, following the untimely death of his predecessor Virgil Abloh in November 2021.
Pharrell Williams, a musician and entrepreneur, is known for his adventurous, gender-fluid approach to fashion, having founded several clothing brands, including Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream. With his multihyphenate resume, Williams has a similar profile to Abloh, who redefined the role of creative director into something closer to a curator. In this new role, Williams is expected to bring his own flavor as an international style icon, known for his fondness for bright color and jewelry.
In addition to his achievements in fashion, the “Happy” singer is a prolific producer and songwriter, having worked with a host of top artists in the music industry, including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Kanye West. His appointment comes as a bold move that cements Louis Vuitton‘s positioning as a “cultural” brand, as stated by Bernard Arnault, the LVMH Chairman and CEO. In January 2022, Arnault underscored Vuitton’s role as a cultural connector, citing the Louis Vuitton show unveiling the last collection designed by Abloh, which featured a soundtrack composed by Tyler, the Creator, played by an orchestra conducted by Gustavo Dudamel and choreography by Yoann Bourgeois.
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Williams’ appointment is effective immediately, and he will show his first collection for the house during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June. Commenting on Williams’ appointment, Pietro Beccari, the Chairman, and CEO of Louis Vuitton said: “His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.” Williams, who co-designed a line of eyewear and a jewelry collection for Vuitton in 2004 and 2008, respectively, is expected to spend at least a third of his time at the fashion house, according to sources with knowledge of the matter.
The winner of 13 Grammy Awards’ appointment also highlights Louis Vuitton’s commitment to the environment, given that he served as creative director of Bionic Yarn, a company that makes textiles, polymers, and other materials from plastic and other recyclable waste recovered from the ocean. Louis Vuitton has set out a list of environmental goals that it aims to meet by 2025, including a 55 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030. Williams’ Humanrace brand, launched in 2021, also aims to use more sustainable packaging, including refillable bottles.
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