Pharrell Williams Talks Leading a New Era at Louis Vuitton

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Pharrell Williams, the recently appointed creative director, shares insights into the enduring legacy left by Virgil Abloh at the fashion house.

The appointment of multi-talented sensation Pharrell Williams as the fresh Creative Director of Louis Vuitton caught certain fashion insiders off guard. In his feature on the cover of GQ's September edition, the Grammy Award-winning music producer, entrepreneur, and designer confessed that the offer to helm Louis Vuitton appeared quite unexpected. Williams recollected, "It wasn't an interview or anything. It was like, 'Will you accept this position? Will you accept this appointment?' I'm gazing at the water, and I'm just taken aback, thinking, 'What?'"

 

The position was formerly occupied by Virgil Abloh, who regrettably passed away in November 2021 following a prolonged struggle with a rare form of cancer. A revolutionary figure in the fashion realm and the founder of Off-White, Abloh achieved the distinction of becoming the inaugural Black artistic director of the esteemed European luxury brand in 2018. Pharrell Williams, a cherished confidant of Abloh's, maintains that the spirit of the Chicago-based designer lingers within him and resonates through the collection.

"I always knew Virgil was special," Pharrell shared, reflecting on their bond. He expressed that this connection to Abloh remains integral through Louis Vuitton. Notably, some pieces designed by Abloh persist within the lineup, fostering a sense of ongoing collaboration in spirit. Pharrell elucidated, "It's like we're collaborating in spirit." He vowed to eternally honor his dear friend's memory.

Pharrell Williams is poised to further cultivate the brand's engagement with skateboarding, a realm Abloh had previously initiated, thus carrying forward a facet of his legacy.

 

Pietro Beccari, the CEO of Louis Vuitton, also reflected on the enduring impact of the late designer. "Following the untimely loss of Virgil Abloh, I believed that selecting a conventionally trained designer wouldn't be the right path," Beccari asserted. He emphasized the need for someone deeply connected to the arts, capable of resonating with people through both music and fashion, as well as collaborations. In Beccari's estimation, Pharrell Williams emerged as the perfect candidate for the role of creative director. He noted Williams' impressive record of 13 Grammys and even Oscar nominations, underscoring his profound influence and creative prowess. Beccari characterized this appointment as an experiment, poised for success due to Williams' unique talents.

Among Williams' notable initiatives in his newfound capacity was the casting of a visibly pregnant Rihanna in the brand's advertisements. This decision generated considerable excitement around the brand. Williams went on to provide further insight into his vision for the luxury brand's future. "The brand aspires to experience substantial growth, but that growth is not merely numerical," he explained. He stressed the connection between growth and refined taste, setting elevated benchmarks, and surpassing existing standards. Williams underscored that monetary success naturally follows such endeavors. He emphasized that their approach wouldn't be solely profit-driven, as he was determined to avoid simply producing repetitive items for financial gain. Instead, he aimed to provoke change and innovation, likening his role to shaking a tree to yield the most delectable apples.

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