American musician and fashion entrepreneur Pharrell Williams has been announced as Louis Vuitton's new menswear creative director.
His appointment comes after the death of Ghanaian-American designer Virgil Abloh in November 2021. Abloh had held the position since 2018.
On Tuesday, Louis Vuitton's chief executive Pietro Beccari described Williams as “a visionary whose creative universes expand from music, to art, and to fashion”.
“The way in which he breaks boundaries across the various worlds he explores aligns with Louis Vuitton’s status as a Cultural Maison, reinforcing its values of innovation, pioneer spirit and entrepreneurship,” Beccari added. His first collection will be shown at Paris Men's Fashion Week in June.
Williams, 49, is widely known for his music career, with 13 Grammy Awards under his belt.
He is particularly regarded for his work as a producer. In the early 1990s, Williams formed hip-hop and RnB production duo The Neptunes with Chad Hugo. They have produced hits for various artists, including Beyonce, Jay-Z, Usher, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Gwen Stefani.
Although better known for his musical accolades, the artist is no stranger to the fashion world. In 2003, Williams co-founded streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club with Japanese fashion designer and DJ Nigo.
Williams has worked with Louis Vuitton's parent brand LVMH since the early 2000s. In 2004 he and Nigo collaborated with Louis Vuitton to create Millionaire sunglasses. Early last year, he partnered with LVMH-owned Tiffany & Co to release diamond and emerald-studded glasses, the "first of many things" he says he plans to do with the jewellery brand.
Williams' label, the Billionaire Boys Club, is known for its high-fashion treatment of streetwear, which was also part of Abloh's legacy with Louis Vuitton.
Abloh, through his barrier-breaking and often ungendered designs, widened the appeal of the luxury brand. He introduced oversized layers and sharply tailored jackets, dressed his models in durags, skirts, pleated shorts and trousers. Waists were defined with tight belts and shoulders were widened with padding.
Following Abloh's death, speculations were rife about who was going to replace him, with Jamaican-British designers Martine Rose and Grace Wales Bonner both suggested by fashion commentators.
Scroll through the gallery below for images from the autumn/winter 2023-24 Louis Vuitton menswear show at Paris Fashion Week