Pharrell Williams is the man of the moment. At Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024, the N.E.R.D. member, rapper, tastemaker, style icon, adidas and Chanel collaborator, Billionaire Boys Club co-founder, and recently-appointed Louis Vuitton menswear Creative Director, unveiled his long-awaited Moncler collaboration. Now, news has broke that Louis Vuitton will be hosting its next menswear show in Hong Kong. But can Pharrell do it again for Pre-Fall 2024?
The new Creative Director’s debut collection arrived during June’s Paris Fashion Week spectacle. And what a spectacle it was. Showgoers were sailed down The Seine, transporting them to a Louis Vuitton’d gold bridge that subsequently shut down Paris for the night. Pharrell’s own mates, Clipse’s Malice and Pusha T, walked the runway, while products included everything from that €1,000,000 Speedy “Millionaire” bag that Pharrell was seen carrying around Paris Fashion Week, to viral bear footwear and divisive 8-bit camouflaged Damier monogram motifs.
This was followed up by a (comparatively) intimate performance by JAY-Z. And in case that wasn’t mad enough, Beyoncé was watching from the front row, as was Mia Khalifa, Corteiz’s Clint, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, Willow and Jaden Smith, Tyler, The Creator, Naomi Campbell, Lenny Kravitz, Offset, Coi Leray, Megan Thee Stallion, J Balvin, Miguel, Jared Leto, Lewis Hamilton… Truth be told, it’s easier to say who didn’t come.
So, how do you pull off a sophomore show that’s just as big, or perhaps even bigger? Pharrell has the answer: by taking Louis Vuitton to Hong Kong for the first time in the House’s history.
It’s the latest label to take its collections on a jet-set world tour, following in the wings of Saint Laurent in the Moroccan desert, Saint Lauren (again) but this time in Berlin, Jacqeumus in Hawaii, Versace in Los Angeles, Carolina Herrera in Rio de Janeiro, and Dior in India.
Such globetrotting shows have become the de facto way to transport us to a new world, not just literally, but metaphorically. Los Angeles depicted a glitzier, flashier side to the already audacious Donatella Versace-helmed label, while Saint Laurent’s Berlin moment saw the House dive into a slinky, sexy, Berghain-tinged wardrobe. Shows often play into their surroundings, which makes us think: what could be bringing Louis Vuitton to Hong Kong?
We have two theories: either it’s an art collaboration, leaning well into Louis Vuitton’s legacy of working with renowned artists such as Yayoi Kusama most recently, as well as Takashi Murakami, Jeff Koons, and Stephen Sprouse, or, the collection relies heavily on Pharrell’s influences as a musician, tapping the Hong Kong rap scene. Both are valid propositions and fitting for the House, but only time will tell.
With all this being said, it’s not that we necessarily want Pharrell to put on another groundbreaking moment in Fashion Show history. While a performance from Skateboard P or his friends would be nice, how do you follow up on JAY-Z? Not trying to top this could be the key to his sophomore success.
Because, in losing some star factor from a private gig on a golden bridge, we might gain some design props from Pharrell and his menswear team. If his debut collection received the praise it did, imagine what it could be if all of the attention was put onto the clothes.
November 30 will be the day we get to see Pharrell elevate his vision. It’s likely to continue the buzzy energy that Virgil Abloh brought to Louis Vuitton. It’s also likely that Pharrell will create a collection that focuses on House codes, updating them with bling and bravado. But beyond that, can Pharrell bring something new to the table? Something that’s not just about celebrities and capturing the luxury-meets-streetwear subculture, but rather a collection that says, “Pharrell isn’t a one-hit wonder. He really is a designer.”
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