Financial markets and the fashion world have rallied around French fashion house Louis Vuitton after it announced the surprise signing of Grammy-winning hip-hop artist Pharrell Williams as the new creative director of its apparel division. for men.
Following the announcement, actions for luxury House jumped €7.40, before closing at €810.50 (~USD869 / AU$1,246). The company remains Europe’s largest, with a valuation of more than 408 billion euros (~US$438 billion / AU$628 billion) after the shares closed on Monday afternoon.
The appointment of Pharrell Williams – who is almost as well known as a designer and tastemaker as he is for his music – to lead the label’s future collections represents the brand doubling down on its expansion into men’s streetwear.
Williams will take over after Virgil Abloh passed away late last year and will debut her collection for the label next year during Paris Fashion Week. It won’t be the first time the two have teamed up, having collaborated to release a pair of “Millionaire” sunglasses in 2007.
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In 2011, Williams worked with Nigo to launch Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Apparel, mixing luxury tailoring with laid-back jeans, t-shirts and shoes, more typical of youth and city subcultures than European tracks.
Pharrell has also collaborated with luxury brands like Chanel and Richard Mille in the past – he’s no stranger to high fashion.
Louis Vuitton was one of the first European fashion houses to anticipate shifting consumer tastes towards urban-inspired streetwear, launching partnerships with US label Supreme and Japanese designer Nigo), which, according to Abloh, ” helped us understand how luxury can relate to a new generation.”
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When Louis Vuitton streetwear was first showcased by Abloh at Paris Fashion Week in 2018, it was met with mixed reviews from the established fashion world, but received praise and standing ovations from the part of celebrities such as Rhianna, Kanye West and his now ex-wife Kim. Kardashian (all three have also dabbled in the fashion world).
Abloh then sparked controversy after other brands followed suit, stating that many of the styles that had come to define the first wave would be short-lived, predicting that streetwear would be driven by the discovery of new talent and would ” reborn again”.
Pharrell joining LV wasn’t on our cards for 2023 but it makes a lot of sense. Time will tell if he’ll be able to fill the sizable void left by Abloh and help LV stay culturally relevant. At the very least, the markets are supporting the movement…