Louis Vuitton has kicked off Men's Paris Fashion Week with Pharrell Williams’ highly anticipated debut collection. Attended by a star-studded entourage including Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, LeBron James, Zendaya, Tyler, the Creator, and Jared Leto to name a few, the runway show was set against the picturesque backdrop of Pont Neuf, the oldest bridge in the city. Guests were ferried in by boat and the runway show was rounded up by a surprise performance by Jay-Z.
The runway show encapsulated the essence of the sun's radiance, blending it with a harmonious fusion of cultures and creativity. With a focus on opportunity, responsibility, and enhancement, the Spring/Summer collection does not only dazzle the eye but also resonates with a powerful message of love and unity. Drawing inspiration from the sun as a universal source of life, Pharrell Williams instilled a sense of empowerment and appreciation throughout the collection. The impact of the sun manifested in every aspect, from the radiant graphics and warm palette to the glistening surface decorations that adorned garments and accessories. This celestial motif serves as a reminder to shine the light of love upon one another, bridging cultural divides and fostering connection.
The iconic Pont Neuf, covered in gold checkerboard, set the stage for the runway show, symbolising the connection between two significant places in Pharrell Williams' life: Paris and Virginia. As a nod to his hometown, the collection echoes memories of Princess Anne High School and the formative years that led him to become the Men's Creative Director at Louis Vuitton. Combining American varsity aesthetics with Parisian craftsmanship, the collection explores a fusion of sportswear and tailored pieces, resulting in a dynamic and distinct style. The Louis Vuitton initials transformed into the emblem of LVERS, representing a global community unified by shared values of warmth, well-being, and appreciation. The LVERS emblem, inspired by Pharrell's home state slogan, ‘Virginia is for lovers,’ became an embodiment of discernment, savoir-faire, and the curation of iconic elements.
The collection celebrates the fusion of Louis Vuitton's heritage Damier pattern and camouflage, aptly named Damoflage. This unique blend paid homage to Pharrell's Parisian friends and showcased the convergence of diverse styles. The pattern appeared across a range of accessories, workwear, denim, and knitwear, symbolising the harmony between nature-inspired camouflage and the iconic Louis Vuitton aesthetic. Abloh debuted pixelated-looking Damier prints in 2018, but Williams took the baton and explored the idea further. The graphic was reimagined in various adaptations, including 8-bit Atari Damier motifs, coloured expressions in tailoring and denim, and stitch-like 3D pigment prints. "I knew that I wanted to really lean into the Damier, something that hadn't had such a great concentration in it, and we did so by using the Damier as a platform and as a new artistic discipline, and we have some really interesting expressions," Williams told WWD.
Accessories were a focal point of the show, the collection introduced the new Louis Vuitton Speedy bag, inspired by the bustling energy of New York City's Canal Street. Monogram Copper, symbolising healing properties, took centre stage in the iconic Louis Vuitton trunk, as well as in canvas bags, leather backpacks, and trainer trunks. Magnified forms of iconic LV bags, such as the Alma and Epi XL, featured exquisite embroideries and veined leather, creating a true spectacle of craftsmanship.
Comfort took precedence in the collection's footwear offerings. From shearling slippers with Monogram intarsia to nubuck bowling shoes and LV-crested leather hotel slippers, each design combined practicality with sophistication. Super Zoom sunglasses and ornate costume jewellery adorned with pearls and crystals added the perfect finishing touches to each ensemble embodying Pharrell’s signature style.
The collection paid tribute to the rich tapestry of human experiences through the inclusion of micro embroideries by artist Henry Taylor. Taylor's artworks, depicting individuals who have shaped his life, adorned tailoring, denim, and accessories, adding a deeply personal and meaningful touch to each piece. The filmic prelude, Pupil King, directed by Todd Tourso, further emphasized themes of love, opportunity, and empowerment through a conversation between Jerrod Carmichael and Henry Taylor. A gospel choir emerged to close the show, and their hymns didn't just make the runway feel jubilant, but it also recalled a funeral, or homegoing, paying respect to the late Virgil Abloh.
The Spring/Summer 2024 Men's collection captivated onlookers with its vibrant palette, intricate details, and powerful symbolism. From the sun's radiant energy to the celebration of diverse communities, Pharrell’s debut collection as creative director of Louis Vuitton Men served as a reminder of the transformative power of fashion, uniting individuals across the globe in a shared appreciation for art, style, and the human spirit.