Pharrell Williams Is Louis Vuitton’s Next Men’s Designer

(Courtesy of Highsnobiety)

It's official: Pharrell Williams is taking over the late Virgil Abloh's role as Louis Vuitton's menswear creative director. The news was first confirmed on February 14 by longstanding French newspaper Le Figaro before Pharrell and Louis Vuitton themselves actually made the announcement.

Pharrell will become Louis Vuitton's first permanent head of menswear since Abloh passed in late 2021. Note that Pharrell's creative director title is distinct from Abloh's position at Louis Vuitton, which was "artistic director."

In fairness, these sort of distinctions are often fairly meaningless within the fashion world as they basically just signify the person primarily responsible for ideating the aesthetic vision of their respective house. Enter Pharrell.

On February 14, Pharrell wiped his Instagram page ahead of the big reveal, leaving the Louis Vuitton announcement as his sole post.

“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,” Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s Chairman and CEO said in a statement.

“His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.”

Pharrell's first Louis Vuitton collection will debut in June 2023 as part of Men's Fashion Week in Paris, which suggests that he's already had time to work with the LV menswear team — collections usually take many months to assemble.

Louis Vuitton was without a permanent creative or artistic director for the entirety of 2022, instead presenting collections designed by the remaining menswear design team alongside a series of tributesto Abloh.

Most recently, Louis Vuitton appointed KidSuper founder Colm Dillane as guest creative director for a single menswear collectionFall/Winter 2023, which Louis Vuitton presented in January 2023 during Paris Fashion Week. 

Dillane's position was always intended to be a one-off, as Louis Vuitton made clear when it initially put Dillane in the guest director role.

Abloh's would-be successor at Louis Vuitton has been the subject of much discussion in fashion circles since his death.

Rumors suggested that LV executives were mulling over names like Martine Rose — at one point the most likely candidate, apparently — Chitose Abe, and Grace Wales Bonner.

Pharrell, a close friend to Abloh, isn't an obvious choice to take over as creative director but he's not necessarily a far-fetched selection either.

Currently overseeing his own Billionaire Boy's Club and ICE CREAM fashion labels — not quite comparable to Louis Vuitton but certainly adjacent to Abloh's streetwear wheelhouse — Pharrell has a long legacy of working with large luxury companies.

For instance, Pharrell designed a collection with Chanel in 2019 and became the house's first male fashion ambassador.

Pharrell is also presumably still working on a collaborative collection with Tiffany & Co., owned by Louis Vuitton parent LVMH, which he revealed in 2022 with a pair of tiny sunglasses that he's since been spotted wearing everywhere.

Suffice to say, Pharrell has luxury chops. Plus, like Virgil Abloh, Pharrell is basically self-taught when it comes to the fashion biz and, at one point, was setting the pace for dudes like Ye (Skateboard P was flexing BAPE before almost anyone outside of Japan had ever heard of it).

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