Louis Vuitton has tapped Pharrell Williams to be its next creative director of menswear. Williams, who is best known for his role as a pop music producer, will fill the vacancy left by Virgil Abloh, who died in late 2021.
Abloh had trained as an architect and interned at Fendi before serving as Kayne West’s creative director and launching his own label, Off-White. It was a groundbreaking move when Louis Vuitton appointed Abloh to the role in 2018. He became the first Black American appointed to a top role at a European luxury brand.
Williams, who is 49, has a very different background—but, like Abloh, has had a profound impact on elevating streetwear to the center of global fashion. He has served as an archetype for the next generation of such genre-bending contemporaries as Tyler Okonma, who like Williams, has slingshotted a music career into countless creative avenues.
Williams launched his career as part of the hip-hop group Neptunes in the 1990s and later became a solo artists with hit songs like “Happy,” which he wrote for the animated movie Despicable Me. And he’s composed music for other movies, such as Hidden Figures and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He has earned two Oscar nominations and 13 Grammy Awards.
Over the years, Williams has stood out for his personal style, and he has parlayed this into several fashion brands, including previous collaborations with Louis Vuitton on a line of sunglasses in 2004, which Abloh later re-issued in 2018. In 2005, he launched the streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club along with Nigo, a Japanese designer who went on to become the creative director of Kenzo. That same year, he also found the skateboard shoe brand IceCream. Since 2014 he has had a successful collaboration with Adidas on colorful sneakers and activewear. And last year, he launched Joopiter, an auction portal for displaying and selling his vast collection of curated personal objects.
Williams’ signature look pairs bright colors and loud prints, mixing these with more muted, preppy looks. He will show his first Louis Vuitton collection in June at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.
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