There has been a question plaguing the fashion world for quite some time, and it seems to have been finally been answered. On February 14, the French luxury brand announced that Pharrell Williams would follow in the footsteps of the former designer as the Menswear Creative Director at Louis Vuitton. Some fans of the brand were happy that the brand chose such a global icon to guide the Menswear collection, while some were disappointed that another "non-designer" was hired.
Williams was somewhat of a surprise selection for the position. Grace Wales Bonner, Martine Rose and Telfar Clemens were the expected candidates to take over as Creative Director. In response to the unexpected appoint of Williams, the brand referred to Williams as a “visionary whose creative universes expand from music to art, and to fashion." It's clear that the brand wanted a director that would bring a multi-disciplinary background to the position.
With Williams’ new position, he follows in the footsteps of Abloh — as part of the era of multi-hyphenate creative directors at Louis Vuitton. Williams himself is not a stranger to fashion design. His work including the co-launching of Billionaire Boys Club and BBC ICECREAM with Nigo, along with collaborations with brands like adidas, Uniqlo, G-STAR, Moncler and Tiffany & Co.
His new position as Creative Director is just one example of the luxury trend of seeking future visions through the hands of multi-hyphenate “non-designer” celebrities. Louis Vuitton wanted more than a designer for the role; they were look for tastemakers in every part of culture from music to fashion to art. Williams will not be in the classic role of a creative director of overseeing the brand's vision and aesthetic. Instead, he will be acting as a cultural curator for the luxury brand.
Those who are skeptical of Williams’ appointment do seem to think that he wouldn't be able to bring anything original to table and would rather have up-and-coming designers share their visions for the brand. However, that might what make Williams the perfect fit for the role. His wide experience across all forms of art and culture — including music, art, design and fashion — might be just what the luxury brand needs. Williams understands marketing and consumers in a way that traditional designers rarely do. While it's early, things seem to be looking up for both Williams and Louis Vuitton.