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Pharrell Williams appointed creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton

American producer Pharrell Williams has been named creative director of menswear at French fashion house Louis Vuitton, a position held by Virgil Abloh before his death.

Louis Vuitton announced that Williams' title would be instated "effective immediately", with his first collection set to be presented in June 2023 during the menswear season at Paris Fashion Week.

Humanrace by Pharrell Williams
Pharrell Williams is named creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. Photo is courtesy of Humanrace. Top image is by Foto di Matti

The position was previously held by Abloh, who died from cancer in 2021. Williams' appointment means he is the second Black American designer to hold a lead position at Louis Vuitton – succeeding Abloh, who was the first.

Although Williams' appointment may not seem like an obvious choice, given his fame largely stems from being a music producer and rapper, Williams has a history in fashion and has previously worked with numerous luxury fashion brands.

Longstanding fashion career

In 2003 Williams founded the streetwear label Billionaire Boy's Club with music producer, fashion designer and now Kenzo artistic director, Nigo. Williams also oversees a sublabel of Billionaire Boy's Club named Ice Cream.

In 2004 Williams and Nigo collaborated with Louis Vuitton and then-creative director Marc Jacobs to produce a collection of sunglasses. Williams later went on to create a jewellery collection for the house.

While being Chanel's first male ambassador, Williams designed a capsule collection with the historic Parisian fashion house in 2019.

"I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008 for Louis Vuitton, as our new men's creative director," said Louis Vuitton's chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari.

"His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter."

Louis Vuitton's menswear department has been without a creative director since Abloh's passing and has instead leaned on its atelier to deliver a series of collections that were designed by and dedicated to the late designer.

In the lead-up to this announcement, Liberian-American fashion designer Telfar Clemens and Jamaican-British fashion designers Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose were said to be in the running for the position.

Exploring Louis Vuitton as a "Cultural Maison"

"Pharrell Williams is a visionary whose creative universes expand from music to art, and to fashion – establishing himself as a cultural, global icon over the past twenty years," said Louis Vuitton in a statement.

"The way in which he breaks boundaries across the various worlds he explores aligns with Louis Vuitton's status as a Cultural Maison, reinforcing its values of innovation, pioneer spirit and entrepreneurship."

In 2022, New York design studio Snarkitecture designed a flagship store for Billionaire Boys Club in Miami that used recycled materials. Williams launched his Goodtime Hotel in Miami Beach that evoked a "reimagined art deco" look.

The photography is by Foto di Matti unless stated otherwise.