We always knew that Pharrell Williams’ debut for Louis Vuitton was going to be big. We just didn’t realise it was going to be *shut down the Pont Neuf* big. Pharrell utilised Paris’ oldest bridge as his own personal runway. He managed to curate a highly-anticipated debut show. So much that some of fashion’s biggest and most elusive names attended. When else have we ever seen Beyoncé, Rihanna and Zendaya all at the same event? And it is safe to say that the show definitely lived up to the hype.
Music Was Key In Pharrell Williams’ Show
Music has played an integral role in Louis Vuitton’s shows for some time now. Former creative director and DJ Virgil Abloh, who sadly passed in late 2021, carefully curated soundtracks for every show. This is something that Grammy-award-winning artist Pharrell appears to be continuing. The Virginia choir Voice of Fire backed up the show by singing “Joy (Unspeakable)”. This is a song composed by Pharrell himself. The lyrics spoke to the short film by Todd Turso that opened the show. Both the soundtrack and short film Pupil King explored the feeling of wanting something. This speaks to how we felt seeing the collection but also to Pharrell’s feelings about the position itself.
When Louis Vuitton announced in February of this year that Pharrell would be taking over as Men’s Creative Director, many were quick to question this decision. He was a musician, not a fashion designer. Those who quickly criticised the decision were forgetting a key point. You don’t need to be from a strictly-fashion background to know fashion. And one thing is clear, Pharrell Williams knows fashion. This was his opportunity to show the world that he deserves the position he so clearly cherishes. So that is exactly what he did.
The collection encapsulated the preppy revival that we have seen adopted by some of the most fashionable men of our time. The fluid take on classic tailoring saw suits shared with shorts and kilt-like skirts. He paired loafers and Mary Janes with scrunched socks. Also, rain boots made a transition into formal wear. Every outfit felt like something I could envisage on Tyler, The Creator, Jaden Smith or Jacob Elordi. But most importantly, it felt unapologetically Pharrell.
The Homage and Quiet Luxury
Monograms, logos and Louis Vuitton’s famous Damier print filled the show. A striking reluctance to conform to the ‘quiet luxury’ approach that has been lingering in the air as of late. The collection also paid homage to the late Virgil Abloh, dedicating the show to him and former Creative Director Marc Jacobs through re-imaginations of their designs. When combined with the collection’s nod to Williams’ personal style, we got a better idea of what Louis Vuitton under Pharrell may look like bold, experimental, and culturally relevant, but aware of the design house’s long history.
Former Creative Director of Saint Laurent Stefano Pilati wore a look that potentially encapsulated this vision the most. Pilati took to the runway in a pearl-embroidered Damier jacket, tailored shorts and loafers, a look that we would easily see on Pharrell himself. However, like many Louis Vuitton collections, the magic of this look was in the accessories. Everything from the sunglasses to the socks was pearl-encrusted, feeding into the look of obvious opulence that was prominent throughout the collection.
Overall, both the show and the collection acted as the perfect introduction to Pharrell Williams’ Louis Vuitton, highlighting the integration of fashion, music and culture that is clearly going to be held at the heart of this design house from now on. The show was well and truly one for the history books, and we can all tell just how much Pharrell wanted this, and now it is safe to say we do too.
Amelia Gregory is Junior Fashion Lead for SSEDITORIAL. She writes on everything from sustainability to runway. She is our lead contributor for red carpet reviews, so keep an eye out for her latest 'Best Dressed' list. Find her on Instagram: @milly_gregory