Pharrell Williams’ star-studded debut for Louis Vuitton sparked joy

Pharrell Williams’ debut as Louis Vuitton’s men’s creative director marked a spectacular beginning, ushering in a new era for the renowned French fashion house.

Announced as the creative director in February, the multitalented American, Pharrell Williams, made a grand statement with his debut show on Tuesday. The event took place at sunset on the Pont Neuf bridge in Paris, featuring a full orchestra, gospel choir, and more than 70 stunning looks modeled by familiar faces like designer Stefano Pilati and hip-hop duo Clipse’s Pusha T and No Malice.

Williams’ front row was graced by a star-studded lineup of his celebrity friends. Rihanna, the brand’s latest campaign model, A$AP Rocky, Jay-Z (who performed at the afterparty), Beyoncé, Kim Kardashian, Jared Leto, Lenny Kravitz (accompanied by Naomi Campbell), and brand ambassador Zendaya with former stylist Law Roach by her side all showed their support.

Pharrell Williams’ appointment as the successor to the late Virgil Abloh sparked debate regarding the validity of his appointment and his unorthodox trajectory.

Although Pharrell Williams lacks formal fashion design training, his influence on culture, spanning music and fashion, has been significant for over two decades. This is not his first foray into design, as he previously collaborated with Marc Jacobs and Japanese designer Nigo on highly successful sunglasses during Jacobs’ tenure at Louis Vuitton in 2003.

Williams has fostered collaborations with esteemed brands such as Moncler and Moynat, while maintaining enduring partnerships with Adidas and Chanel. Notably, he collaborated with the late creative director Karl Lagerfeld on a remarkable capsule collection for Chanel.

Similar to his predecessor Abloh, Pharrell Williams possesses a remarkable ability to anticipate and shape the cultural landscape, redefining the spirit of the times and effectively promoting ideas to a wide audience.

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As the creative director, his role at Louis Vuitton extends beyond designing collections. He will also oversee the production of fashion shows, campaigns, and other engaging content to maintain the fashion house’s relevance and generate excitement.

Guests gathered at the Musée D’Orsay, specifically “in front of Rihanna,” as indicated by the PR team, pointing to the brand’s prominent billboard showcasing the pregnant Barbadian singer. They then embarked on a boat journey along the Seine River, reaching the city’s oldest bridge, where the LVMH-owned department store Samaritaine stands at its base.

Pont Neuf was completely transformed into the runway for Louis Vuitton, adorned with a continuous strip of the iconic Damier motif, which played a significant role throughout the collection.

Williams’ creative interpretation of the iconic checkerboard design, dating back to 1889, took center stage. Referred to as “Damoflage,” the pattern appeared in a pixelated form across various pieces. Floor-sweeping overcoats, matching suits, collarless tapestry jackets, structured cases, trunks, oversized Speedy bags, and backpacks showcased this unique iteration.

The collection also featured a more exaggerated version of the original Damier pattern, seen on quilted denim jackets, calf-grazing trench coats, leather moto jackets paired with flared pants, as well as leather jerseys and rugby shirts in vibrant shades of yellow, navy, and burgundy. Additionally, the pattern made its way onto a range of accessories, including beanies, bags, and baseball caps.

The collection showcased new motifs, such as embroidered designs inspired by American artist Henry Taylor, featured on tailoring, denim, and accessories. Another notable addition was a logo that combined the classic “LV” monogram with the word “lovers.” Described as a “state of mind” in the show notes, “LVERS” symbolized warmth, wellbeing, and a sense of welcome.

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In a nod to his personal style, Williams presented elevated Varsity jackets adorned with crystal detailing, featuring prints of Pont Neuf and a navy version with the LVER logo emblazoned across the chest. The collection also showcased tailored shorts paired with matching jackets, ruched white tube socks, and black loafers, reminiscent of Williams’ red carpet aesthetic.

Accessories shared the spotlight with the garments, as models showcased Louis Vuitton’s renowned bags. The classic Speedy, beloved by celebrities such as Audrey Hepburn and Snoop Dogg, took center stage, worn across the chest, suspended from the arm, or nestled underneath. This marked a transformative update for the iconic bag.

“Inspired by its history, I wanted to create a bag that transcends gender and becomes a timeless accessory for all individuals,” Pharrell expressed in a post-show press release.

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