Why Pharrell is the perfect pick for Louis Vuitton

Why Pharrell is the perfect pick for Louis Vuitton

by Juliette Eleuterio
6 min

On Tuesday, Pharrell did it again, presenting his second main-season collection for Louis Vuitton during Men’s Paris Fashion Week in what can only described as a hype-followed, celebrity-attended, and, essentially, viral show. But let’s talk about the clothes for a second.

The artist-turned-creative-director’s design-focused Instagram page, @skateboard, gave us a teaser one day prior to the show, with a massive billboard giving us all the show info using a font that resembles the type seen in a Western film’s title sequence. While only speculation at this point, the Wild Wild West theme seemed like a stark contrast to last season’s collection, which was heavily pixelated in its offering, with clear streetwear roots.

On the day, guests were greeted by a giant red-lit sign that read “LVirginia,” nodding to Pharrell’s home state of Virginia, which yes, is home to many cowboys. The mountain landscapes of Virginia were plastered onto a massive screen while fringe-adorned jackets and horse-printed shirts walked down the runway, making the theme clear as day.

Louis Vuitton ©

Cowboy boots and hats, large rounded belt buckles, and leather jackets were adorned with LV branding, as if Pharrell looked at his moodboard, saw John Wayne and asked “how can we make this dude drippy?” Reimagined bolero, cow-printed bags and embellished denim chaps added to the cowboy essence of the collection. While the collection was set-in-stone in its visual inspiration, and executed that to a T, other pieces such as monogram tracksuits and pixelated garments and accessories tied the new collection back to the previous one. But do the clothes even matter?

As much as this collection was a feast for the eyes for fans of cowboy-related anything, the clothes didn’t exactly feel like a wearable offering you’d spot while walking the streets of Paris. Instead, we can expect to see pieces on celebrities who have an outrageous style (and attend events who demand those outrageous fits), or on the set of a high-budget Western film.

Clothing has never been Louis Vuitton’s specialty. The French Maison started off as a leather goods and accessories brand, and in many ways, has stayed that way. Accessories are the main cash cow of most luxury fashion brands, considering they are the entry-point sold goods, but especially Louis Vuitton. According to Statista, the LVMH group totalled over 38 billion euros of revenue in fashion and leather goods in 2022, reaching “record levels,” according to the conglomerate.

Looking at this season’s accessories and leather goods offering, the cowboy theme was much less present than in the clothing, giving us more commercial-leaning options. Duffle bags were adorned with the LV monogram and other branding, while totes, shoulder and handbags were seen colour-blocked and adorned with branded detailing. While we tend to credit the Creative Director for the full collection, each department actually has a Head Designer who is responsible for the dedicated offering, and in Louis Vuitton’s case, Darren Spaziani is the Director of Leather Goods for women, men, and the travel departments, a position he has held for over 10 years.

Louis Vuitton ©

This begs the question: why do we need fashion shows then, especially considering most of these clothes won’t end up going into production? According to Dana ThomasDeluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Luster, Founder and CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault had an idea; put on fashion shows to create a media-induced hype craze to create global brand awareness that should (and it does) generate sales. Ever wondered why random celebrities who have nothing to do with fashion are present at shows? Well, there’s your answer.

Even more than just creating traction around fashion shows, Arnault, as the cunning businessman that he is, wanted more. Specifically, Thomas explains that he wanted his Creative Directors to become celebrities, as seen with John Galliano and Lee McQueen while working at Dior and Givenchy respectively during the late 90s to early 00s. Despite how that all ended, Arnault still seems determined to go down the celebrity CD route, literally tapping a celebrity for Louis Vuitton.

By enlisting Pharrell, Louis Vuitton doesn’t need to do much in terms of its celebrity-ification of its Creative Director. In fact, Louis Vuitton can leverage Pharrell’s pre-existing fame and cultural status, and that’s exactly what it has been doing. 

Last season, Kim Kardashian, A$AP Rocky, Rihanna, Jay-Z and Beyoncé all attended in support of their friend’s directorial debut, and this season saw Pusha T walking the runway, and Playboi Carti, A$AP Ferg, A$AP Nast, Quavo, Rauw, Lil Yachty, Swae Lee and many more.

Essentially, Pharrell hit a home run at Louis Vuitton by doing exactly what he was hired to do: create brand awareness thanks to his cultural status.

Main image credit: Louis Vuitton ©

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