Unpacking Tyler, The Creator’s relationship with Louis Vuitton

Unpacking Tyler, The Creator’s relationship with Louis Vuitton

by Ollie Cox
7 min

In case you didn’t know, Tyler, The Creator, has his fingers in a lot of pies, from music to sneakers to fashion. Recently, he revealed a collaboration with Louis Vuitton, which saw a typically Tyler take on the LV Monogram, a boatload of cool clobber and outlandish (and very expensive) accessories. As expected, social media ate the collaboration up, which spanned luggage, clothing, and footwear, being the first clothing collection Tyler designed for the house. The relationship between Tyler and Louis Vuitton goes beyond this pioneering collection and is the product of a long-standing relationship with the Maison and its movers and shakers. 

Tyler has always collected cool stuff, from colourful Cartier watches, Vintage BMWs, super rare magazines, and a heavy helping of headwear. On top of all of this, if there’s one thing he loves, it’s trunks. When the artist was in his Igor era, he went heavy on the trunks, bringing the luxury luggage to red-carpet appearances and album photoshoots. In 2022, Tyler spoke about his love of luxury carriers to Robb Report, describing them as “a symbol of new experiences and a way of escaping,” and highlighted a Louis Vuitton hat trunk with a Queen Mary passenger sticker from 1949 inside. Not only did the historic trunk show Tyler’s obsession with all things vintage, and we mean really vintage, but it also identified his understanding and appreciation of the Louis Vuitton brand. 

Louis Vuitton ©

The trunk was one of the first items sold by Mr. Louis Vuitton when he opened his first boutique on Paris’ rue Neuve des Capucines, catering to his clients’ needs to travel more often. It was sturdy and went against the grain, opting for an angular design compared to the rounded options that were popular at the time. Tyler’s appreciation of an item so closely aligned with the brand’s beginnings set him in good stead for his future work, which would contribute to the future of the Maison whilst understanding, referencing and appreciating its roots. 

While Tyler’s official collaboration falls under Pharrell’s creative vision for the House, his relationship with Virgil Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s former Artistic Director of Menswear, helped lay the foundations for the official relationship. When launching his own label GOLF le FLEUR*, which saw Tyler move his Golf Wang label beyond graphic T-shirts, and into a more menswear-focused offering which sees sport coats, camp collar shirts and patterned knitwear sold and released as part of its offering, Tyler, The Creator, worked closely with Virgil Abloh, who put him in touch with suppliers and ateliers in Italy, helping to push the brand into what it is today.

The decision to work with rappers and other cultural tastemakers, such as skateboarders, reflected Abloh’s approach to Louis Vuitton, bringing his experiences in luxury streetwear to the brand. In a behind-the-scenes look at his capsule collection for Louis Vuitton, Tyler shared how his previous work laid the foundations for the opportunity. “I started and dialled in on Golf Wang in 2013, which led to an ill Converse relationship [which is] still going. [I] started working on le FLEUR* in 2017 after Lacoste gave me a shot. le FLEUR* finally released in 2021, and I’m still perfecting it. All that preparation went to work when I got the opportunity to work with Louis Vuitton. I was not nervous, I did not feel pressure, I was beyond ready.”  

This confidence in his abilities is paired with a surefire understanding of the direction of the brand. In 2022, Tyler teamed up with Benji B to compose the Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2022 soundtrack score. The duo composed a 20-minute show soundtrack that spanned a range of genres, even including a tailored version of “Farewell (See You Again).” As the show progressed, Tyler rode a Monogrammed bike, weaving between models, dressed head to toe in Louis Vuitton. The move cemented Tyler’s official relationship with the House, helping set him up for his limited-edition capsule collection.

A key component of the Tyler, The Creator brand is his carefree California cool, where despite a killer collection of supercars, he can often be seen cruising around LA on his bike. Fall/Winter 2022 showed how this laid-back allure could be carried into the House of Louis Vuitton and was later continued into his collaborative capsule collection. Nods to his love of all things two-wheels are seen in the Craggy Bike Monogram Key Ring, where a miniature top tube is adorned with Tyler’s take on the monogram. 

Beneath quirky key rings and Craggy graphics is Tyler’s relationship with Pharrell Williams. In addition to being one of the most influential musicians and producers of the 21st century, Williams is the Menswear Creative Director for Louis Vuitton, a position he has held since February 2023.

Tyler, The Creator and Pharrell have grown to become regular collaborators, with the latter being a huge source of inspiration for Tyler. In 2016, the “See You Again” star took to Instagram to share how much Pharrell has inspired him, sharing anecdotes about his belief in his work and how it inspired Odd Future. “I created Odd Future that same summer. I was actually naive enough to believe you, and I thought I could do all these amazing things if I really tried,” he shared before continuing. “It seems like at a certain age, ideas; and original thoughts are no longer a thing; I didn’t fall into that cycle. I’m now a young entrepreneur all because I believed you when you said I could be. You were the first person I contacted when I pulled off that McLaren dealership.” He concluded by referring to Pharrell as the “male figure I gravitated to. Allowing me to embrace being different and trusting my ideas.” 

The bond shared between the two musicians goes beyond mutual admiration and support for each other and extends into culture-dominating collaborations. In 2022, Pharrell released “Cash In, Cash Out,” with features from 21 Savage and Tyler, The Creator, reflecting the strong working relationship and cultural impact shared between the two musicians. In 2014, Tyler’s Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival saw the reunion of N.E.R.D., the early ‘00s rap group that helped catapult Pharrell into the zeitgeist, reflecting Tyler’s esteemed position within the hip-hop industry. 

With this in mind, it made perfect sense that Pharrell would make Tyler one of the first collaborators with his Louis Vuitton menswear offering. When the partnership was announced, Pharrell shared what it meant to him. “Tyler has been my close friend and collaborator for years, and we’ve always connected on music and design. This collaboration is unique to Louis Vuitton because it’s a natural extension of our LVERS philosophy, building on our network of incredible artists and creatives. There are so many elements specific to Tyler built into these pieces, and it’s been inspiring to see him hone in on his craft and collaborate with him for this Spring collection.” 

Tyler, The Creator’s capsule for Louis Vuitton, sees key items such as the Speedy Bag, reimagined with his custom Craggy monogram. The iconic Louis Vuitton bag has become a key marker of Pharrell’s tenure at the House, and Tyler’s take on the style reflects the symbiotic relationship between the two and a further understanding of Pharrell’s vision for the luxury Maison. 

Louis Vuitton ©

Tyler, The Creator’s relationship with Louis Vuitton is rooted in an appreciation and understanding of the codes of the House and its legacy. The rapper has engaged with the brand as both a consumer and a collaborator, applying his own experiences in the fashion and music industry to his capsule collection. He has nurtured a union with the label through performance and fashion whilst becoming a beacon of the brand’s current direction, where a near-perfect alignment with his idol, Pharrell Williams, results in a captivating design equilibrium. 

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