When Pharrell Williams was announced as Virgil Abloh’s successor as Creative Director of Louis Vuitton Menswear, the fashion world was split. Williams has worked in fashion for decades, co-founding Billionaire Boys Club in 2003 and working with labels like Moncler and Chanel. However, Abloh had established himself as of the most influential fashion designers of this generation, leaving behind some incredibly hard shoes to fill. Now, Williams finally gives us a taste of his vision for the future of the brand by kicking off Paris Men’s Fashion Week with the Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2024 collection.
Set in the heart of Paris on the Pont Neuf, models walked across the bridge with a view of the Seine River to the sounds of a live orchestra. What became evident right away was that Williams had no plans on changing the direction of the band. Instead, he was more focused on creating a genuine reinterpretation framed around his influences.
The first model wore a boxy, neutral colored suit jacket and tailored shorts, a style we have seen take off on several runways over the last few seasons. This set a boundary for the looks from the show, being one of the more simplified looks of this style. As it went on so did the complexity, but everything shown stayed safely wearable.
First came the sharp tailoring, but these sharply contrasted with much a much baggier style that came later. Accessories also played with this contrasting theme, on one side there were militant chains, and on the other there were soft pearls.
The biggest focus of the show was Williams’ reimagining of the house’s famous Damier print. Williams avoided using the pixel-esc print in the typical brown/tan or black/grey combinations, and instead went in a new direction.
"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.
It was easy to find influences in these newly conceptualized patterns. These included military style camouflage, yellow and black bags that felt reminiscent of a taxicab, and a distressed blue denim to name a few.
There were plenty of standout jackets that came down the runway. A red and white embroidered varsity jacket, a studded bomber jacket, and a long yellow and black trench coat were just some of the many highlights. There was no shortage of distinct pieces, with each look remaining unique enough from the next to feel fresh, but recognizable enough to feel cohesive.
Another big focus of the show was bags. Small crossbody, large duffels and even massive trunks that were driven down the runway were all used as accessories. Williams said in the same WWD interview, "I knew I wanted to make my presence known in bags." Other accessories included memorable newsboy caps, sharp eyewear, and oversized slippers.
It was a star-studded event, with the likes of Kim Kardashian, Zendaya, Beyonce, Jay Z, and Lenny Kravitz among some of the celebrities who attended the show. Everyone came out to support Williams' debut as Creative Director, and they had the opportunity to witness him deliver a fully fleshed out show. What can be taken away from this show beyond anything else is a commitment to creativity. There were more unique ideas showcased in LV Spring 2024 than we have seen out of some designers in multiple seasons. If this is any sign of things to come, we can expect Williams to produce in quantity and quality as the head of Louis Vuitton Menswear.