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Pharrell is frontin’ Louis Vuitton

17 February 2023

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

It has been on the minds of certain people as to who would succeed the multi-hyphenate and, for many, incomparable genius, Virgil Abloh, as the designer of Louis Vuitton menswear. Fortunately, the announcement has come in the form of another multi-hyphenate – Pharrell Williams.

While Pharrell is best known as a musician, he is also known for his insouciant cool. There was a moment in the early noughties when any pop star who wanted to sound as if they were more than a cookie-cutter musician had their single produced by him.

He is no stranger to fashion – indeed he was the first man to appear in a Chanel advert. He has partnered with Adidas and has his own streetwear label, Human Made. Like that other cultural figure, Rihanna – whose appearance on the steps of the Met changed how anyone will think of those steps – Pharrell also has a skincare range. His is called Humanrace. He even partnered with Louis Vuitton to design some sunglasses in 2004 and jewellery in 2008.

It is Pharrell’s close ties with Louis Vuitton that brought him in contact with the art world. As surely everyone has spotted, Louis Vuitton is in a collaboration with Yayoi Kusama to the point where her trademark dots look more like a trademark than an artist’s tic, but this is not the fashion house’s first artist collaboration. It all started with Murakami. Fortunately, young Pharrell was intrigued by this and started visiting Galerie Perrotin (which represents Murakami); thus his art collection began. It will be no surprise that KAWS is an artist that someone who straddles high fashion and streetwear admires.

Rakewell is always excited to see how a fashion house develops its identity. We have no doubt that Louis Vuitton is excited by the potential to blur the lines between streetwear and tailoring, culture and high fashion. Vuitton struck gold with Abloh and Rakewell hopes its newest designer will bring everyone much happiness.

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