“This goes beyond clothing”: Pharrell Williams makes his Louis Vuitton debut.
Paris Men’s Fashion Week started with the highly anticipated debut collection of Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton. The fashion show took place on Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the French capital, representing a metaphorical connection between Paris and Pharrell Williams’ home state of Virginia.
For his first proposal for the Maison, Men’s creative director Pharrell turned to the sun as a universal source of life: a radiance that energizes, heals and unites people of all cultures and religions. “For so long I’ve been talking about how the sun shines on us with this quote,” says Williams. “Clearly, the sun shines on me and everyone on my team.” In addition, he timed his parade to take place right at sunset.
The location included a giant gold Damier pattern, showcasing the brand’s heritage codes. The music video-like ambience of the show highlighted the influence and grandeur of the parent company, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, which shut down the entire neighbourhood for the occasion. To the sounds of The Virginia Choir Voice of Fire’s gospel, “If you want it, you can have it; if you need it, you can have it,” an army of LoVe, which was the theme of the collection, strolled across the Damier plaid-covered Pont Neuf bridge in their Damier attire and Damier bags.
The location was one of the inspirations behind Williams’ menswear debut. “I look out these windows every day, and there are great supreme views that emerge in terms of the vision,” he says. “But then when you get completely up close and personal with granular detail, it inspires it because I’m in this air. This is where I live, sleep, dream, eat and breathe every day, as does my team. It has changed all of our lives.” Williams even sent out stained glass windows as an invitation to the Pont Neuf, to reconnect everything.
The state’s 1969 travel and tourism slogan ‘Virginia is For Lovers®’ became ‘Virginia is for LVERS,’ a play on words but also a summation of what Williams wanted the brand to represent. “When you just look at it and you zoom in on that word, ‘lovers,’ it sums up the vision even more clearly,” Williams said. “That this was a moment that we all appreciate: there are a lot of people that we appreciate, the process, the opportunity and even on a consumer level if you love this house.”
Pharrell Williams imagined the future by incorporating a pixelated reinterpretation of the Damier pattern. The squares of the checkerboard-inspired pattern were used to create a pixelated feel, resulting in unique artistic motifs and a distinctive pattern called “Damoflage.” This motif seamlessly merged the traditional Damier pattern with camouflage.
The collection incorporated the brand’s signature leathers and designs into modern, futuristic looks. Emphasis was placed on fabrication, incorporating and revitalizing Maison’s iconic Epi leather in numerous looks, as well as the new all-leather Speedy. The designs were practical, luxurious and, most importantly, wearable.
Williams collaborated with notable artists to infuse their distinct styles into the collection. Pixel artist ET created a digitized version of the Damier motif, while American artist Henry Taylor’s micro-embroidery adorned various pieces, from denim to accessories.
The collection showcased a wide range of pieces, from checkerboard print denim to luxurious cream evening jackets. Borrowing eclectic styles from his own closet, Williams showcased felt hats and berets, men’s skirts, cargo-style socks, urban-style tracksuits embellished with crystals and lots and lots of ensembles and suits. Elsewhere, he showed pixel-print wellies, molded moss green leather trim, mint green cracked leather separates, suede bombers with sheepskin lining and more.
Accessories were a focal point of the show, the collection featured the new Louis Vuitton Speedy bag, inspired by the bustling energy of Canal Street in New York City. Monogram Copper, symbolizing healing properties, took center stage on the iconic Louis Vuitton trunk, as well as on duffel bags, leather backpacks and athletic briefs.
All this spectacle and speculation placed Williams’ debut under the critical microscope, but to his tremendous credit, his collection was excellent.
Celebrities and fashion like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Zendaya and LeBron James, Tyler the Creator, Kim Kardashian and Naomi Campbell attended the LV SS’24 menswear show. Jay-Z performed a set at the after-party, and Williams jumped for a song.
Discover every look from the Louis Vuitton Spring Summer 2024 Men’s Collection by Pharrell Williams in the gallery below: