Louis Vuitton Remains Off-White With Pharrell Williams Leading Menswear

By CultureBanx Team

  • Louis Vuitton names Pharrell Williams as its new head menswear designer
  • In 2022, LVMH saw global sales of luxury fashion and leather goods increase 22% helping bring its full year revenue up to €79.2B

There’s a new pied-piper of fashion as hip-hop producer and singer Pharrell Williams is set to take over the menswear reins at global fashion house Louis Vuitton (LVMUY +0.99%). Williams’ appointment makes him the second Black artistic director at Louis Vuitton, following the passing of iconic designer Virgil Abloh. He is now one of the rare Black designers with a leading role at the top of the fashion pyramid. Will having Skateboard-P at the helm of the brand help craft larger conversations about representation and diversify the business of fashion from within?

Why This Matters: The fashion industry has a complicated relationship with race, even though fashion is regularly influenced by street style, minority communities and creative outsiders. These groups are rarely acknowledged or invited into the fold. According to a study by Bain & Company, when LVMH appointed Abloh it was a reflection of the increasing consumer-driven intermingling of the luxury and street wear sectors. Clearly, this is a trend the brand wants to continue now that Williams is at the helm.

He is bringing a wealth of knowledge with him having created streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club as well as a skateboarding-inspired shoe brand, Ice Cream. Additionally, he’s worked with brands like Diesel, Chanel and Moncler and even has a nearly decade long co-branded line of clothes and shoes with Adidas. Perhaps Skateboard-P’s celebrity status also places a heightened burden of expectation on his shoulders, especially given all the success he’s had in other business sectors. 

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

The Louis Vuitton brand is the biggest revenue driver at the French luxury goods group LVMH. In 2022 the company saw global sales of luxury fashion and leather goods increase 22% helping bring its full year revenue up to €79.2 billion. Menswear is currently sold in around 150 of the 450 Louis Vuitton stores around the world, though the company plans to increase that.

Situational Awareness: This appointment continues acknowledgement on the part of the luxury fashion industry to respond to contemporary culture in new ways. Williams joins Black fashion designer elites including Olivier Rousteing, who is the creative director of Balmain and Ozwald Boateng, who was the designer for Givenchy menswear from 2003 to 2007. The first collection for Louis Vuitton from Williams will show during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June.

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