The new Louis Vuitton Men’s Creative Director Pharrell Williams debuted with his first collection for the Parisian fashion house, the Louis Vuitton menswear Spring/Summer 2024 show, against the historic and heritage backdrop, the illuminated oldest bridge in the French capital, Pont Neuf.
The style of Pharell Williams’ debut collection reflects the influence of his music, adding a touch of artistry through the carefully chosen vibrant colors of his clothing.
Williams dedicated the show to his predecessor: “This moment is dedicated to the giant before me. To our brother in spirit.”
Undoubtedly amongst the grandest fashion show Paris has ever seen by any benchmark, “We started small!” sarcastically mentioned Louis Vuitton CEO Pietro Beccari, who appointed Williams to succeed the late Virgil Abloh.
Guests were transported by boat across the Seine to Bateaux Maches as the sun set, then disembarked beneath Pont Neuf (which is located directly across the street from the main entrance of Louis Vuitton’s Paris headquarters). As guests ascended the bridge, it was evident that the company had completely assumed control of the event, as the air of Paris was filled with the enchanting melodies of the accordion.
William’s collection was centered around the concept of Love. To promote this concept, the show was also a spectacular manifestation of strength.
The show began with the introduction of Speedy bags, which featured chromatic LV monogrammed bags, as well as pixelated camouflage.
The lights were on, the drums were beating, and first looks were breaking cover for the serendipitous LV fashion show. These were heavily focused on the Damouflage theme, first in accessories and then in garments. Highlights included a nearly (but not entirely!) Chanel-inspired knit jacket, a long netting-covered duster coat, a jacquard suit and a leather bomber.
Any youth who has grown up playing Minecraft, and any older adult who regards camo as a staple, will respond positively to these pieces and immediately rush to purchase them.
“This Is Beyond Clothes. When I was given this position to rule, I accepted it, knowing that I was going to be a perpetual student,” Pharrell said.
The most potent wannabe luxury good from the collection were the accessories. The bags are what bring Vuitton’s world to life, and this collection was full of eye-catching variations, such as brightly colored Keepalls, Almas, Neverfulls, and Speedys, which were worn in clusters, delicately heaped.
On being an immersice fashion show, Pharrell highlighted, Integration of the Community, Integration of the Air, Integration of the Space: Where the Show will take place, Where the Collection will be Viewed for the First Time. It is truly an immersive experience. People use the term Diversity all the time, It is Diversity, Because My World is Diverse. People use the word Inclusion, It is Inclusive. Because While This Is Menswear, You Know, I Make Things For People.
Speaking earlier, Williams had said: “African Americans like ownership because we’ve had everything taken away from us. We were taken, and then we had our shit taken from us over and over again: so yeah, possession is a thing for us.”
Pharrell, the Grammy-winning musician who has been experimenting with fashion, made a statement with his Men’s SS24 Louis Vuitton collection. The collection was characterized by its playful prints, which featured vibrant checkerboard patterns, pixelated camouflage, and pronounced patterns. The collection was presented in a range of muted and muted colors, muted neutrals, and grey tones, saturating the palettes of apparel, bags, and luggage. The silhouettes blurred the boundaries of gender, with oversized fits, high-waisted shorts, wrap-skirts, and structured cuts presented on both male and female models during the show.
“Pharrell is unveiling the collection piece by piece, because it is already 20 days that he wears [items from] the show,” said Louis Vuitton CEO Pietro Beccari, noting that Williams is approaching the assignment from the perspective of a prolific luxury shopper. “He’s impatient and I said, ‘He’s the client, right? So that’s it.’”
“I am the client,” assented Williams
All of a sudden, a golf buggy appeared, emblazoned with the word “Liberty” on its rear bumper, towering above the trunks which had been Louis Vuitton’s first defining item (in the form of camouflage). The repetition of the “LV-overs” was a means of conveying Williams’ Virginia origin story to the audience, and this one repeated Vuitton’s. Subsequently, after the release of the buggy, more Damier was released, but not in the form of camouflage. Damier jeans were then followed by more Damier trench coats, more Damier suits, more Damier biker jackets, more Damier shorts, and more, in a variety of colorways.
In Pharrell Williams’ Louis Vuitton debut collection, the singer’s signature Damier print appears as a yellow and white checkerboard on the illuminated Pont Neuf floor, while a gospel choir serenades Williams with ‘joy’ as the collection is presented. Touching on Williams’ debut collection, the show features a mix of racing gear and winter outfits, with the singer’s signature damier-inspired outfit consisting of a bright blue suit and trousers, complemented by a red tote bag and a yellow gym bag both designed in the same Damier print.
IMAGE CREDIT – GETTY
Williams emerged in his green ‘Damoflage’ pixelated camouflage “Damier” attire, reflecting the fusion of the fashion house’s style and Louis Vuitton’s design heritage, gliding across the golden cobbles of Paris’s oldest bridge, while Pharrell Williams song “Joy” played, and as the rhythm of the song increased, the pair’s white and off- white “Damouflage” robes glimmered in the illumination.
IMAGE CREDIT – GETTY
The inspirations behind Williams’ menswear debut, is Paris and the windows –. “I look out of these windows every day, and there are big paramount vistas that come out of it in terms of the vision,” he says. “But then when you zoom all the way into a granular detail, it’s inspiring it because I’m in this air. This is where I’m living and sleeping and dreaming and eating and breathing every day, and so is my team. It’s shifted all of our lives.”
The invites sent out by Pharrell was the stained-glass window featuring the Pont Neuf, to connect everything together again.
The exhibition features a collaboration between the artist Henry Taylor and Alma bags, whose artworks depict key inventors. Additionally, the show celebrates the work of other creative figures, such as Dapper Dan, as well as paying tribute to the work of the artist’s predecessor, Virgil Abloh.
A pixelated version of the Damier pattern, referred to as “Damoflage,” was featured on floor-length overcoats, bespoke suits, a tapestry jacket with no collar, structured cases, trunks, Speedy bags, and backpacks. Additionally, a more exaggerated version of the traditional Damier pattern was seen on quilted jeans, calf-length trench coats, leather Moto jackets with flared trousers and leather jerseys, and rugby shirts in shades of yellow, deep navy, and burgundy. It was also featured on a variety of accessories, such as beanies, bags, and baseball caps.
Pharrell Williams, Creative Director, draws inspiration from the universal energy of the sun, a source of life that invigorates, heals, and unites people of all backgrounds and beliefs. As the ultimate source of illumination, the sun encourages its students to learn, grow, and express their gratitude. It instructs us to reflect that light – that love – back onto our fellow man. The influence of the sun can be seen throughout the entire collection, from the sun’s rays through the graphic elements, through the warm palette, and through the sparkling surface decorations that embellish garments and accessories.
The importance of the sun in French culture can be traced back to the reign of Louis XIV, who is widely regarded as the most influential figure in French history. His reign of 72 years remains unrivaled as the longest in Europe, and he is still referred to as the “Roi Soleil” due to the sun rays radiating from his face.
“For so long I have been talking about how the sun is shining on us with this appointment,” says Williams. “Clearly the sun is shining on me and everybody that’s on my team.”
This season saw the introduction of new motifs, such as embroidered designs by Henry Taylor, which were used on clothing, denim, and accessories, as well as a logo incorporating the traditional “LV” monogram and the word “lovers”. “LVERS” translates to “warm, comfortable, and welcoming,” according to the show notes. There was a wide variety of headwear available, including chunky beanies with crystal and pearls to replicate the Damier pattern, leather logo berets with structured designs, and newsboy caps with slouchy styles. Williams’ signature sunglasses were also available in a variety of sizes and shapes, including square camo lenses and small circular frames resembling camera lenses, as well as wraparound styles and oval lenses with pearls.
William’s show audience was packed with celebrities – Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Tyler, Jared Leto, the Creator, Zendaya, Kim Kardashian, Megan Thee Stallion … the list continues, endlessly.
Williams notes that “there’s a particular lens on African Americans and people of our African diaspora, just because we should.”
Jay-Z gave a fabulous surprise performance consisting of hit tracks such as “N***as in Paris,” “Frontin’,” “Public Service Announcement (Interlude),” “Change Clothes,” “F***WithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” and so on, to celebrate Williams’s achievement, post the show. The two longtime friends also performed “I Just Wanna Love U” from Jay-Z’s 2000 LP, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.
Williams paid tribute to “the giant before me” — the late artistic director Virgil Abloh, in his show notes.
“Virgil has always been a brother in spirit. Now, that is literally what we work with here,” he added in a press release. “He left a lot of hits with the House. As far as I’m concerned, I’m collaborating with his spirit. I’m honoured. When he got this appointment, I was really, really happy for him… It was crazy what the connections were, and the respect he had for us, and which we continue to have for him. I can tell you that Virgil and me being here has to say to kids who look like us, ‘Oh, I can do anything. I can be anything.’”