France – Paris
On February 14, Louis Vuitton announced the arrival of its new creative director in charge of men’s collections: Pharrell Williams. A man of many talents, recognized for years. Singer-songwriter, artistic director, musician, producer, stylist, rapper, producer and avant-gardist since birth, the 50-year-old American pluralist isn’t ready to stop yet.
It all began in the 90s, when hip hop culture spread around the world. While rappers wore baggy clothes, Pharrell Williams came to the fore with fitted T-shirts and pants with revisited cuts. The artist’s difference is rooted in each of his life experiences. Indeed, having grown up in suburban areas, with an adjusted eye on the world, he has found his inspiration in the different layers of cultural wealth.
Later, Pharrell Williams befriended Jacob the Jeweler, with whom he designed jewelry. He became the first rapper to design colored jewelry. Later, the American jeweler introduced the rapper to a Japanese customer, Nigo, who was a fan of the singer’s pieces.
Thanks to his encounter with the young Japanese businessman, he developed a keen sense of fashion, and his originality enabled him to think outside the box. This was the birth of Billionaire Boys Club and ICE CREAM. His signature? Lots of logos, camouflage, color, quality and elitism.
As time went by, he began to forge partnerships. One of the first was Louis Vuitton under the eye of Marc Jacobs for a pair of glasses in 2004. In 2008, Pharrell did it again with a jewelry line.
And just as he was being honored as a fashion icon with a CFDA Awards, he launched Humanrace in 2016 in collaboration with sports equipment manufacturer, Adidas. This was followed by a collaboration with Chanel, which put its logo on sneakers for the first time.
In 2010, the American artist changes his look and wears hats. He also dipped into Vivienne Westwood’s ’80s archives, bringing out the Buffalo hat. His creativity is boundless and constantly renewed.
Today, as head of men’s creative direction at Louis Vuitton, Pharrell is not really succeeding Virgil Abloh, who was artistic director. Indeed, the creative director is not trained as a couturier. His role is to oversee the entire creative project and provide a global vision. He also oversees the communications strategy and the brand strategy itself.
Pharrell Williams at Louis Vuitton is the assurance of not making waves. It also means collaborating with a fashion icon endowed with enormous star power, who was able to take the show to the next level for a show that was seen and shared millions of times on the networks. Whether this was a strategic move or a long-term collaboration, time will tell.