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This was the big piece of fashion news of the week. Louis Vuitton announced the arrival of Pharrell Wiliams as the new Men’s Creative Director. According to Pietro Beccari, LV’s Chairman and CEO, Pharrell Williams will open a new chapter in the success story of the French luxury house. Is it a PR operation? A way to be trendy? According to a statement released by the French luxury fashion brand on Tuesday, American singer, record producer, and designer Pharrell Williams will succeed Virgil Abloh as Louis Vuitton’s men’s creative director. The appointment is effective immediately, and his first collection will debut in June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris. The reasons why Louis Vuitton made such a choice are far way more exciting and with higher consequences for the brand. See below.

Pharrell Wiliams, a Holistic artist, is one of the biggest influence in the current world of Music and Arts.

It seems that everything that Pharrell Williams touches turns into gold. In the early 1990s, he formed a four-piece “R&B-type” group, the Neptunes, with Hugo and friends Shay Haley and Mike Etheridge. They entered a high school talent show, where they were discovered by producer Teddy Riley, whose studio was next to the school. After graduating, the group signed with Riley. The Neptunes established themselves by producing Blackstreet’s ‘Tonight’s The Night,’ ‘Mase’s 1997 song ‘Lookin’ At Me’ and N.O.R.E’s ‘Superthug’ – which reached number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100, and so their skills caught everyone’s attention.

The Neptunes produced Gwen Stefani’s single “Hollaback Girl”, which entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 82 on the issue dated April 2, 2005, and topped the chart within six weeks of its release. In 2006, Williams released his debut solo album, In My Mind. It debuted at number 3 on the US Billboard 200. The Neptunes produced Clipse’s second album, Hell Hath No Fury. The Neptunes produced several songs on Stefani’s second album, The Sweet Escape (2006), including the promotional single “Yummy”, which features Williams. In December 2006, Williams was announced as a performer at Concert for Diana in Wembley Stadium, London, on July 1, 2007. In 2007, the Neptunes produced Jay-Z’s tenth studio album, American Gangster.

Williams worked with Madonna for her eleventh studio album, Hard Candy (2008). In June 2008, an article in NME revealed that Williams was interested in producing the next album of the American rock band, the Strokes. Later that year, Williams worked on a remix album for Maroon 5 titled Call and Response: The Remix Album.

Pharrell Williams worked with Shakira on her songs “Did It Again”, “Why Wait”, “Good Stuff”, and “Long Time” for her sixth studio album, She Wolf (2009). The following month, Williams made a guest appearance on French singer Uffie’s debut album, which was released in early 2010. The Neptunes produced numerous songs on Clipse’s third album, Til the Casket Drops (2009).

They also produced approximately 20% of British songs played on British radio in 2003. Songs with Pharrell’s name in 2003 included Jay Z’s collaboration ‘Change Clothes,’ Timberlake’s ‘I’m Lovin It,’ Kelis’ ‘Milkshake’ and Snoop Dogg’s ‘Beautiful.’ Pharrell had undoubtedly made his mark.

©NRJ – Pharrell Williams and Daft Punk

Pharrell featured on the lead single from Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’ – and it took the world by a storm. ‘Get Lucky’ received critical acclaim across the board and it was about to break a lot of records. The song broke records with the highest number of plays of any song in a single day on music streaming application Spotify, received awards for both Best Pop Duo/Group Performance and Record of the Year at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards and sold 38,887 copies in three days, making ‘Get Lucky’ the best-selling digital single in a one-week period. From this time onwards, Pharrell Williams became a worldwide super star.

Pharrell Williams and the Fashion World

While Williams, a 13-time Grammy winner, is better known for his music career, the 49-year-old has a robust set of fashion credentials, too. He co-founded streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club in 2003 with fashion designer Nigo and has collaborated with a slew of luxury brands including Tiffany & Co., Moncler and Adidas. From a huge brown topper hat he wore to the 2014 Grammy Awards to his now-signature bejeweled Tiffany shades, Williams’s daring personal style often makes headlines and he is no stranger to fashion’s front row.

Much like Virgil Abloh, Williams’ creativity is cross-disciplinary: At the beginning of 2022, he announced he was involved in an ambitious new hotel project, slated to open next year in the Bahamas, and during the pandemic, he released a portable cutlery set to limit single-use plastic consumption when outdoor dining.

In 2017, Williams designed a €1,000 sneaker in collaboration with Chanel and Adidas. Verizon partnered with Williams on April 26, 2019, to launch a tech-fused music curriculum in nationwide Verizon Foundation Learning schools. In November 2020, Williams launched Humanrace, a skin care brand. In December 2021, Williams would launch the winter line “Premium basics” together with Adidas Originals

©Hypebeast France – Pharrell Williams & CHANEL collaboration

Why Pharrell Wiliams is such an interesting Creator for Brands?

Today, Pharrell Williams is everywhere. In music, arts, fashion and in any potential industry requiring strong creative power. Why did he become so interesting for brands. According to Cédric Dauch, Global Communications Director & Brand Strategist, Williams represents a very strong asset for any luxury brand.

“Pharrell Williams knows how to decompartmentalize the art world in order to create innovative concepts, compatible with Gen Z”

Cédric Dauch – Communication and Brand Luxury Strategist

He is an innovator and always looks for bridges between two worlds. From Music, arts and fashion, Pharrell Williams is definitely known to be an unlimited source of creativity. Let’s not forget that Karl Lagerfeld was surely his first mentor in the fashion world. Following Virgil Abloch’s footsteps does not seem something unusual.

Pharrell Wiliams is also the representative of the black minority in the US. This means he integrates that culture, in addition to the street culture that is buzzing right now and has a strong appeal to younger generations. A longtime advocate against racial injustice, Pharrell was an integral part of the talks with Virginia Governor Ralph Northam about Juneteenth being a permanent paid state holiday and continued to make the push for it to become a national holiday. According to Cédric Dauch, Pharrell Wiliams is the perfect alignment with Louis Vuitton when you understand what are the plans that Bernard Arnault has for the French luxury house. Let’s not forget that in 2006, Pharrell Williams did his first fashion collaboration with Louis Vuitton by designing a pair of sunglasses aviator style. There were called “Millionaire”. It was a great success. A second edition took place in 2007 and in 2008 it was the launch of a jewellery line called “Blason”.

© Vogue – Blazon collection Louis Vuitton by Pharrell Williams 2008

Louis Vuitton’s ambition: More than a simple fashion brand.

Louis Vuitton announced the arrival of Pharrell Williams as the new Brand Men’s Creative Director. It was big news. Bernard Arnault, the richest men alive and the captain of LVMH group always had great ambitions for Louis Vuitton. Back in 2018, when Arnault appointed Virgil Abloch as Artistic Director for the brand, we already knew that Louis Vuitton is set to become something greater than just a luxury brand. For LVMH, Louis Vuitton is turning itself as a true cultural reference. The role of the artistic or creative director has changed. From a pure fashion design, now the creative director needs to represent something different. He needs to have a notoriety beyond the fashion industry, a cultural impact within his/her community, be able to extend the brand territory outside the traditional luxury world and last but not least, be a creator of holistic experiences.

“Pharrell Williams did a great collaborations for men with CHANEL by the past when Mr. Lagerfeld was in charge. So we can easily bet that his 14.3M fans on Instagram will enjoy this new path. Louis Vuitton will automatically win new Gen Z future customers”

Cédric Dauch – Communication and Brand Luxury Strategist

With Williams set to present his first Louis Vuitton menswear collection in June this year at Paris Men’s Fashion Week spring/summer 2024, there is no doubt a cloud of fervent anticipation as to what the style savant and trendsetter has in store. After the tragic news about Virgil Abloch in 2021, Louis Vuitton presented already 2 men’s collections without a Creative director. The inspiration was street culture, so we guess that Louis Vuitton will continue to explore this theme in the incoming collections. Without a doubt, Pharrell will contribute his own artistic flare to the position while steadfastly upholding Abloh’s vision of making Louis Vuitton a sought, avant-garde, and artistically diversified Maison.

José Amorim
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