American musician, record producer and designer Pharrell Williams will succeed Virgil Abloh as Louis Vuitton’s men’s creative director, according to a statement issued by the French luxury fashion house on Tuesday.
The appointment is effective immediately and his first collection will debut in June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.
“I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008 for Louis Vuitton, as our new Men’s Creative Director,” said Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and CEO in a statement. “His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.”
The news comes a little over a year after Abloh’s death in November 2021, age 41, following a private battle with cancer.
The visionary designer’s unexpected passing sent shockwaves through the industry and beyond. As the first Black artistic director of Louis Vuitton, Abloh made history when he was appointed in 2018 and was widely credited for bringing a younger demographic to the storied fashion house with designs that brought a streetwear aesthetic to the luxury world.
News of Williams’ appointment ends months of speculation over who would succeed Abloh.
While Williams, a 13-time Grammy winner, is better known for his music career, the 49-year-old has a robust set of fashion credentials, too. He co-founded streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club in 2003 with fashion designer Nigo and has collaborated with a slew of luxury brands including Tiffany & Co., Moncler and Adidas.
From a huge brown topper hat he wore to the 2014 Grammy Awards to his now-signature bejeweled Tiffany shades, Williams’s daring personal style often makes headlines and he is no stranger to fashion’s front row.
Much like Abloh, Williams’ creativity is cross-disciplinary: At the beginning of 2022, he announced he was involved in an ambitious new hotel project, slated to open next year in the Bahamas, and during the pandemic he released a portable cutlery set to limit single-use plastic consumption when outdoor dining.
How Williams will apply his skillset to his new role at Louis Vuitton remains to be seen but a flurry of industry reactions to the news across social media suggest he’ll have a packed house at his first show this summer.