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BULETIN TEKSTIL.COM – For hip hop music enthusiasts, Pharrell Williams is one of the most prominent musicians/producers who has been producing so many successful global hit songs. However, perhaps not many are aware that he is also a multidisciplinary artist who has been successfully developing his art and design talents in many fields. On February 14th, 2023, the general public was surprised when Louis Vuitton announced that they have appointed Pharrell Williams as the Menswear Creative Director, replacing the late Virgil Abloh who passed away at the end of November 2021 (please read Nevertheless, for certain few people who have acknowledged his track records in the world of art and design, this news is not so appalling.

Pharrell Williams

Pharrell Williams was indeed one of Virgil Abloh’s long time close friends who truly understands Abloh’s groundbreaking design styles. But that is not the main reason why he was chosen to become the head of the prestigious fashion house. William’s own brilliant career in the fashion and art scene is the reason why he is considered able to represent Louis Vuitton’s current mission and spirit. Pharrell William’s career in the fashion industry started in 2003 when he and Nigo, A prominent Japanese fashion designer, artist, and musician who is now the Creative director of Kenzo, founded Billionaire Boys Club, a clothing brand that focuses on luxury streetwear. This brand has become so successful and now has several boutique locations in Japan, United States, China and England.

In the following years, Williams formed collaborations with various global fashion and accessories brands, such as, in 2013 he designed sunglasses for Moncler, then in 2014 he did a long-term collaboration with Adidas, and in 2014 he collaborated with Uniqlo to design their UT t-shirt line. In 2017, Williams collaborated with Chanel and Adidas to design their sneakers, something that has never been done by Chanel before. Williams had actually experienced working with Louis Vuitton in 2004 and 2008, when he collaborated with Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton’s Creative director at that time, to design the renowned “Millionaire” sunglasses.

On June 20th, 2023, Louis Vuitton organized their Menswear Spring Summer 2024 fashion show in Paris. This show featured Pharrell William’s debut collection after he was appointed as the Menswear Creative Director for Louis Vuitton. Undoubtedly, this show that was held on the first day of Paris Menswear Fashion Week is the biggest and most spectacular this year. The show was located along the Pont Neuf bridge, the oldest bridge in Paris built in the mid-16th century, measured at 232 meters in length and 22 meters in width. At the opening of the show, an original song “Peace Be Still”, composed by Pharrell Williams himself, was performed, accompanied by a renown pianist, Lang Lang, and an orchestra conducted by Thomas Roussel. About 74 looks in total were shown, completed with various accessories such as shoes, luggage, hats, sunglasses, etc.

In his debut collection, Pharrell Williams focused on the sun as his source of inspiration. The radiance of the sun that gives energy, heals dan unifies humans from various cultures, gave inspiration to his collection which utilizes a lot of bright, warm, and sparkling colors, as well as the catwalk along the Pont Neuf bridge which was made to glow white and yellow like the sun.

In his debut show, Williams also introduced the Damouflage print, that is the mixture print between Louis Vuitton’s classic checkerboard motif, known as Damier, modernized by blending it to the army green camouflage motif made into pixelated form. This print reminds us of the nowadays digital video games. LV’s classic logo, known as Marque L. Vuitton Déposée was also revamped to match the theme of the collection. Pharrell Williams who originated from Virginia, United States, wanted to bring the spirit dan inspiration from his city, connecting Paris and Virginia by combining the slogan from his hometown “Virginia is for Lovers” with the LV logo and created the emblem LV-lovers which were used in several of his jacket designs. Not to forget, he also included several styles that are synonymous with American streetwear styles such as varsity jackets, track suits, and denim. He paired this streetwear-identical style with formal and elegant suits and coats, to display the luxurious streetwear style that is indeed the mainstay of Louis Vuitton menswear today.

As one of the world’s celebrities, Pharrell Williams did not forget to invite his world-class celebrity friends to come to attend the fashion show. Numerous celebrity friends from the entertainment industry, as well as world athletes came to support Williams, such as Rihanna, Beyonce and Jay-Z, Jared Leto, Lebron James, Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, Lenny Kravitz, Naomi Campbell, and many more. At the end of the show, even Jay-Z performed with Williams to entertain the show guests.

This fashion show debut from Pharrell Williams clearly shows that he wants to continue the design direction of Virgil Abloh, his friend and predecessor. He even dedicated this event to him and wrote a message: “This moment is dedicated to the giant before me. For our brother in spirit.” And so began a new era for Louis Vuitton, the era of Pharrell Williams.

(red B-Teks/Shinta Djiwatampu)

Fashion Design Program Director

LaSalle College Jakarta

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