Luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton announced Tuesday the appointment of hip-hop artiste Pharrell Williams as its new head of menswear.
“Louis Vuitton is delighted to welcome Pharrell as its new Men’s Creative Director with immediate effect,” the storied brand said in a statement.
Williams fills the spot left vacant since the death of Virgil Abloh from cancer in November 2021.
The 49-year-old is an established superstar in the music world, with 13 Grammys and two Oscar nominations, and has been a fixture in the front row of fashion shows for years.
“Pharrell Williams is a visionary whose creative universe spans from music to art to fashion — establishing himself as a universal cultural icon over the past 20 years,” said the fashion house, part of the LVMH luxury conglomerate.
His first collection for Louis Vuitton will be presented in June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris, it added.
“I’m delighted to see Pharrell come back to the house as the new creative director for men, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008 for Louis Vuitton,” said the fashion house’s chief executive, Pietro Beccari.
“His creative vision beyond fashion will without a doubt lead Louis Vuitton towards a new, very exciting chapter,” he said.
Louis Vuitton’s sales have soared since the Covid-19 pandemic, with the company now worth more than $20 billion — helping to turn the owner of its parent company LVMH, Bernard Arnault, into the world’s richest person.
– Millennial appeal –
The French brand had been happy to keep coasting on the hype generated by Abloh’s three-year tenure, using his team and guest designers for recent shows.
Abloh, who died aged 41, became a star among millennials as he astutely combined luxury fashion with streetwear.
Last month, Louis Vuitton put on one of the most talked-about shows of menswear week in Paris with a performance by pop star Rosalia and overseen by a collective of strongly hyped young designers.
Williams, who came to fame in the 1990s as part of hip-hop group The Neptunes, was not often mentioned in speculation surrounding the job.
But he fits with the label’s recent moves to attract a younger, streetwear-focused audience, and the interests he shares with Abloh include skateboarding, art and music.
He was also a fan of Abloh’s: “Virgil you were a kind, generous, thoughtful creative genius your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live forever,” he wrote upon the designer’s death.
He has previously teamed with other fashion brands for individual lines, including Diesel, Chanel, Moncler and Adidas.
His partnership with Louis Vuitton in 2008 under then-creative director Marc Jacobs was for a jewellery and sunglasses line.
In 2016, Williams was named co-owner of jeans brand G-Star Raw, and also co-founded the Japanese clothing maker Billionaire Boys Club