Louis Vuitton hires Pharrell Williams as next mens creative director.jpgw1440

Louis Vuitton hires Pharrell Williams as next men’s creative director

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American musician, producer and streetwear designer Pharrell Williams will be Louis Vuitton’s next menswear creative director, succeeding the late Virgil Abloh. The French luxury brand confirmed the appointment in a statement on Tuesday.

The position, one of the most prominent senior positions in menswear, has been vacant since Abloh’s death from cancer in November 2021. Despite Williams’ high celebrity profile, his choice might surprise fashion insiders – Jamaican designer Grace Wales Bonner was rumored to be front-runners for the role, as was British designer Samuel Ross and LOEWE creative director JW Anderson.

Nodding to William’s previous work with the brand, Pietro Beccari, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, said in a statement, “I’m delighted to welcome Pharrell back home… His creative vision beyond fashion will no doubt translate into a new Louis Vuitton.” and very exciting chapter.” Late Tuesday afternoon, LVMH’s landing page featured a simple black and white photograph of Williams wearing a white T-shirt and diamond necklace, with the greeting “Welcome Pharrell!”

As creative director for menswear, Williams is tasked with producing two collections a year, including bags, accessories and ready-to-wear. His first collection for the fashion house will debut at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris in June. Williams’ appointment to a senior position at the world’s largest luxury brand also points to hip-hop’s enduring cultural importance and further cements its status as a global fashion driver.

The 49-year-old Virginian’s role as a cultural tastemaker and influencer is as diverse as it is extensive. Williams is best known for his influence on the music industry, where he helped define the sound of hip-hop as a producer, songwriter and frontman for NERD or produced hits for Britney Spears, Beyoncé, Snoop Dogg and Jay-Z, alongside numerous other artists.

This long-standing collaboration extends to the fashion world, where he has worked with a number of big brands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Tiffany, Nike and Adidas. However, his most famous partnership to date is his work with Japanese designer Nigo, founder of streetwear company A Bathing Ape. Together they founded Billionaire Boys Club in 2003, a clothing, accessories and lifestyle brand that aims to fuse streetwear and luxury. His sneakers (released under the sub-label ICECREAM) were particularly popular with teenage skateboarders and hip-hop fans in Japan and the United States. (Nigo is now creative director of LVMH’s Kenzo label.)

Despite his good faith as a tastemaker, Williams has big shoes to fill in Abloh’s absence. The first black American to ever hold a senior design position in a luxury European house, Abloh is credited with bringing a modern and sometimes wry sensibility to the brand.

Though rooted in the streetwear world, Williams’ style has been praised for its irreverence and wide range (who can forget The Hat?). In 2015, he became only the second man to win a CFDA Fashion Icon Award.

“I get my style from random people, regular people – I’m interested in construction, for example. Everyday things, you know, uniforms, sports, skateboarding, normcore, granny sweaters — all of those things interest me,” Williams told Vogue at the time. He was also an early adopter of the latest wave of gender-neutral clothing and aesthetics, sporting a ball gown on the front of GQ’s new manhood issue in 2019.

When asked about his decision to wear a lilac crocodile Birkin bag or a pastel Celine coat, Williams told the magazine that style and fit came first: “I liked something and I put it on. Then came the philosophy behind it.”