After being announced as creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear in February, Pharrell Williams debuted his hotly anticipated first collection this week at the iconic Pont Neuf, Paris’s oldest bridge. Here are 5 takeaways from the show.
The occasion was graced by the presence of renowned Hollywood figures such as Jay-Z, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Naomi Campbell, Lenny Kravitz, Zendaya, Meghan Thee Stallion, Kim Kardashian, Lewis Hamilton, and Jaden Smith among other esteemed guests. Even Beyoncé took a night off from her Renaissance world tour to support her old friend and collaborator.
The Gorgeous Setting
Prompted to gather promptly at 8.30 pm along the River Seine, attendees were whisked away on boats, traversing the shimmering waters to reach the timeless Pont Neuf in Paris. Dating back to the 16th century and hailed as the heart of the city’s rich history, this iconic bridge resides mere steps away from the Louis Vuitton studio, where Pharrell Williams tirelessly shaped his remarkable collection since assuming the role of creative director. As dusk descended and guests settled into their seats alongside the runway, the bridge came alive with enchanting illumination, setting the stage for an extraordinary show accompanied by a captivating live orchestral performance.
Drawing inspiration from Louis Vuitton’s iconic ‘Damier’ check motif, Pharrell Williams embarked on a creative exploration, reimagining the historic pattern into a captivating, pixelated camo design adorning a range of workwear-inspired clothing, denim pieces, and intricately knitted garments. Aptly titled ‘the Damouflage,’ Williams aimed to craft a print that instantly evokes the essence of both himself and the distinctive Damier pattern, creating a memorable visual impact. Another imaginative twist on the motif emerged through the incorporation of 8-bit style graphics, skilfully crafted in collaboration with the renowned American pixel artist ET Artist.
Pharrell Williams expressed that his creative vision was sparked by a symbolic connection between his birthplace and upbringing in Virginia, USA, and the vibrant city of Paris. Reflecting on his formative years at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach, he drew inspiration from the essence of American varsity attire, incorporating nostalgic elements into his designs. Notably, a collegiate-style jacket adorned with the inscription ‘LV Lovers’ pays homage to his home state’s emblematic slogan, ‘Virginia is for lovers.’
Collaborating with Artist Henry Taylor
For years, Louis Vuitton has been celebrated for its fruitful partnerships in the realm of art, and this legacy continues to thrive. A notable exhibition titled ‘LV Dream,’ held in close proximity to the fashion house’s headquarters, showcased the extensive range of collaborations between its creative directors and esteemed artists, including luminaries like Jeff Koons and Yayoi Kusama. Pharrell Williams, in his role as creative director, chose to collaborate with LA-based artist Henry Taylor, renowned for his expressive portrayals of the Black community. Taylor’s distinctive works are skilfully translated into exquisite embroidery, adorning a diverse array of tailoring, denim pieces, and accessories within the collection.