The musical artist and industry-transcending creative succeeds the late Virgil Abloh to head up the French fashion house’s menswear division.
Pharrell Williams is the new men’s creative director at Louis Vuitton, effective immediately, the fashion house announced on February 14. Williams is set to debut his first collection in June 2023 during men’s fashion week in Paris.
The 49-year-old American multi-hyphenate is an established titan in the music world, with accolades including 13 Grammy awards and two Oscar nominations. The “Happy” singer has a prolific resumé that spans industries, including work with non-profits, music festivals, film and fashion. In 2003, he co-founded the streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club with designer Nigo. And in the decades since, he has become a fixture of fashion show front rows, known for his experimental and influential personal style.
“Pharrell Williams is a visionary whose creative universes expand from music, to art, and to fashion — establishing himself as a cultural, global icon over the past twenty years,” the fashion house said in a press release. “The way in which he breaks boundaries across the various worlds he explores aligns with Louis Vuitton’s status as a Cultural Mason, reinforcing its values of innovation, pioneer spirit and entrepreneurship.”
In this role, Williams will be succeeding Virgil Abloh, who passed away in November 2021 at only 41 years old after battling a rare form of cancer. Abloh made history as the first Black artistic director of the French retail company. He was widely credited for revolutionizing the fashion industry by bringing streetwear aesthetics to the forefront of luxury and attracting a younger clientele to Louis Vuitton. With a fanbase that transcends industries, Williams is expected to continue that legacy.
In 2004, the artist co-designed a line of eyewear for Louis Vuitton — called the “Millionaire” collection — which was later recreated by Abloh in 2018. In 2008, Williams teamed up with the fashion house yet again to design a jewellery line. Throughout his career, the producer has worked with fashion brands such as Chanel, Adidas and Uniqlo, and he was presented the Fashion Icon Award at the 2015 CFDAs.
“I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008 for Louis Vuitton, as our new Men’s Creative Director,” said Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and CEO, in a statement. “His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.”
What exactly that chapter will entail is yet to be revealed. But with Williams’s extensive experience and creative prowess, it’s sure to be exciting.