Image Credit: Louis Vuitton via Instagram

The creative tour de force started as he meant to go on for his first collection as Louis Vuitton Men’s Creative Director. 

The wait is over. Last night, Pharrell Williams gave fans a look at his first menswear collection for Louis Vuitton with a grandeur appropriate for the occasion. For those lucky enough to be invited to the historic event, the festivities began before the models took to the runway. Attendees arrived at the location by boat, sailing along the River Seine, before disembarking at the iconic Pont Neuf Bridge. 

While Williams’ appointment came as a surprise to many in the fashion business, with British designers Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose seen as major contenders for the role, last night’s event gave the music mogul a chance to prove his suitability for the position. While not a formally trained designer, the creative polymath has been a key contributor to the worlds of fashion, music and art. Nothing better reflected this cultural pull than the front row. 

For an event of such scale, taking over the oldest standing bridge in the French capital makes sense. At the iconic location, industry insiders and A-listers rubbed shoulders in eager anticipation of the events about to unfold. Calendars were cleared well in advance of the date of the show, with Queen Bey taking time out of her Renaissance Tour to attend alongside her husband Jay-Z, who performed alongside Pharrell to kickstart the after-show festivities. 

In terms of the collection, Pharrell picked up where his predecessor left off, fusing the worlds of streetwear and luxury fashion, all whilst acknowledging and shifting the perception of black identity. Virgil Abloh’s legacy was honoured with the following message in the show notes: “This moment is dedicated to the giant before me. To our brother in spirit.”

Williams nodded to skateboard P’s iconic looks whilst acknowledging the traditional codes of the house. Sharp tailoring was paired with classic Louis Vuitton leather goods, including bags and trunks. Looking at the collection, it would seem Pharrell put an end to ‘quiet luxury’, making full use of the designer label’s monograms and logos. The collection introduced us to a camouflage Damier print used to canvas hoodies, overcoats and blazers. 

Further streetwear influences could be seen throughout the footwear offering, where chunky skate sneakers punctuated relaxed denim sets and leather shorts, reminiscent of the exaggerated ICE CREAM sneakers released under Billionaire Boys club. 

In the run up to the show, Pharrell teased his work at the Parisian atelier through a publicly accessible instagram account under the handle ‘skateboard’. This led many to draw parallels with the social activity of his predecessor, of whom HIDDEN NY is the most prominent example. 

If last night’s show made one thing clear, it is that the fusion of streetwear with luxury fashion isn’t over yet. If this collection is anything to go by, the revival of streetwear is off to a good start, decimating doubts and setting the stage for a continued exploration into the two style influences.