NEW YORK (AP) — Louis Vuitton has named multitalented singer-songwriter-philanthropist Pharrell Williams creative director of its menswear division, replacing the late Virgil Abloh, the company said Tuesday.
“Pharrell Williams is a visionary whose creative universes expand from music, to art and to fashion — establishing himself as a cultural, global icon over the past 20 years,” the luxury house said in a statement.
Word on the appointment first broke in The Wall Street Journal and Le Figaro.
The “Happy” singer is a 13-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee with experience working with luxury brands and designers like the late Karl Lagerfeld.
The appointment is effective immediately. Williams’ first collection is scheduled to be shown during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June.
The position had been left vacant since November 2021, when Abloh died of cancer at age 41. He was a groundbreaking designer and tastemaker known for merging streetwear and high fashion.
Abloh’s ubiquitous, consumer-friendly presence in culture was wide-ranging and dynamic. Some compared him to Jeff Koons. Others hailed him as his generation’s Lagerfeld, Chanel’s longtime creative director who died in 2019. Abloh was the first Black director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, one of France’s most storied fashion houses.
After Abloh’s death, the brand carried on with splashy men’s shows, largely without a creative director. Abloh, a DJ and founder of the brand Off-White, turned the job at Louis Vuitton into that of “curator,” rather than simply “designer,” as he expanded his interests into housewares, art, jewelry, industrial design and architecture.
Williams collaborated with the luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy) in 2004 and 2008. He had a massively popular sneaker collaboration with Chanel in 2017 and a unisex clothing collection in 2019 that he designed with Lagerfeld. He also has his own fashion brands, including Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream.
“His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter,” the brand’s new chairman and CEO, Pietro Beccari, said in the statement.