Pharrell Williams is the new menswear creative director of Louis Vuitton

Multi-hyphenate musician Pharrell Williams has been announced as the successor to Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton

Pharrell Williams in black and white image wearing T-shirt
Pharrell Williams
(Image credit: Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

After rumours began to circulate earlier today (14 February 2023), it has been confirmed this evening that American multi-hyphenate musician and producer Pharrell Williams has been appointed as the new menswear creative director of Louis Vuitton.

His appointment follows more than a year of uncertainty as to the successor of Virgil Abloh, the former menswear artistic director of the Parisian house who died on 28 November 2021. The seasons that have followed have been helmed by Abloh’s design team, who for A/W 2023 – shown at Paris Fashion Week in January 2023 – collaborated with emerging American designer Colm Dillane of KidSuper on the collection. The high-profile show – which featured a performance by Spanish pop artist Rosalía – has proved to be a one-off.

Pharrell Williams: the route to Louis Vuitton

Virginia-born Williams – who rose to fame as part of The Neptunes in the 1990s before forging a solo career as a musician and producer – has long been known for his colourful and often idiosyncratic sense of style, which was heavily influenced by a close friendship with A Bathing Ape founder Nigo that began in the early 2000s (the Japanese designer is now creative director of Kenzo). Nigo would become an integral part of Billionaire Boys Club, which he and Williams founded in 2003, and subsidiary brand Ice Cream (Japanese graphic designer Sk8thing was also an early contributor). 

‘Every time we make a new shoe, a new shirt, or a pair of jeans, it adds another chapter to my dream coming true,’ Williams told Nigo in a conversation in the Karl Lagerfeld-helmed 2005 issue of Interview. ‘It’s rags to riches.’

Williams has continued to remain an influential figure in fashion and design in the two decades since, regularly attending international fashion week shows and maintaining a close relationship with Chanel. Close to the late Lagerfeld, he would be Chanel’s first male ambassador and create a collaborative capsule collection of clothing in 2019. During Abloh’s tenure at Louis Vuitton, Williams was an avid supporter of the American designer’s work, posting a tribute to the ‘creative genius’ on the news of his death. He was also a member of the guest judging panel for the 2011 Wallpaper* Design Awards.

His latest project is Humanrace, a gender-free skincare line that launched in 2021. 

‘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 20 years. 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,’ said the house in a statement.

‘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. His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter,’ added Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and CEO.

Williams’ first collection for the house will be revealed in June 2023 during the Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.