With the passing of Louis Vuitton’s former menswear creative director Virgil Abloh more than a year ago, there have been speculations as to who would be his successor at the iconic French house. The American fashion designer—who was named artistic director in 2018—passed away in November of 2021, after having redefined the house’s codes for almost three years. His impact on pushing the boundaries of streetwear within luxury fashion has been immortalised forever, and his vision has helped to reshape menswear.
LVMH has since announced that Pharrell Williams will be taking over the reins of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collections. The multi-disciplinary artist—his extensive career spanning songwriting, producing, fashion designing, and even philanthropy—is renowned for his expressive style that ranges from tailored suits to biker jackets. Often a staple amongst fashion aficionados like Rihanna and Takashi Murakami, Williams’s reputation within the industry skyrocketed when he met Nigo, then a Japanese record producer and founder of the popular Japanese streetwear brand, A Bathing Ape. Nigo—now the creative director of Kenzo—shared a similar vision with Williams and embarked on several fashion initiatives such as founding of Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear in 2014.
This led to a wave of collaborations with fashion and lifestyle brands, including Adidas, Moncler and Comme Des Garçons. Williams’s collaboration with Chanel saw an immaculate execution of what could be considered the height of his creative visions, which resulted in a bold display of colours and gender-fluid silhouettes, symbolic of his personal style. The collaboration saw massive success and to this day, the pieces from this collection are still highly sought-after.
Williams had also previously worked with Louis Vuitton on two separate occasions. The first was in 2005 when he designed and released the Millionaire sunglasses, and the second being a capsule collection of bejewelled rings and necklaces in 2008. His work with Adidas also remains a fan favourite to this day, with many still rocking the Stan Smith and Human Race NMD sneakers he designed years ago.
With Williams set to present his first Louis Vuitton menswear collection in June this year at Paris Men’s Fashion Week spring/summer 2024, there is no doubt a cloud of fervent anticipation as to what the style savant and trendsetter has in store. Ahead of his first show, Vogue takes a look at some of his most notable fashion collaborations to date.
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Millionaire collection for Louis Vuitton, 2005
Williams’s first venture with French house Louis Vuitton can be traced back to the early noughties when he released the Millionaire aviator sunglasses. The product was a collaborative effort that involved Nigo and was well-received. Louis Vuitton eventually did a re-release of the silhouette in 2007, and the sunglasses still remain an archive staple more than a decade later.
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Louis Vuitton Blason jewellery collection, 2008
Unveiled alongside the house’s 2008 haute couture collection, this collaboration was between Williams and current artistic director of Emilio Pucci, Camille Miceli. The Blason jewellery line saw rings and necklaces finished in gold with gleaming diamond detailing throughout, synonymous with the maximalist style spearheaded by Williams.
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Moncler Lunettes sunglass collection, 2013
Pioneering a collaboration with Italian brand Moncler, Williams first worked with the brand to drop exclusive eyewear that was a cyber-futuristic rendition of sunglasses. These shield-like sunglasses became a point of reference for many fashion designers, with similar silhouettes adopted by Rick Owens and Heron Preston later on.
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Uniqlo UT 'I Am Other' collection, 2014
Pharrell tapped into his streetwear background and released an affordable capsule collection with Uniqlo titled ‘I Am Other’. Strong basics which included baseball caps and graphic T-shirts with ironic texts proved popular among his fans, and the forgiving unisex cuts of the garments proved to be a fan favourite.
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Adidas 'Stan Smiths' collection, 2014
Williams’s most far-reaching and longstanding collaboration is undoubtedly with sportswear giant Adidas. The first of many collaborations was an exclusive sneaker drop in 2014, when the artist released 10 pairs of the iconic Stan Smiths sneakers with customised graffiti doodles. The scarcity of this release made these sneakers extremely sought after by fashion lovers.
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Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear, 2014
The brainchild of Williams and Nigo, streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club was released in two exclusive drops for the now-shuttered Parisian concept store, Colette. The drops saw streetwear basics ranging from caps to T-shirts, as well as sibling brand Ice Cream Footwear releasing trendy sneakers that referenced skate culture. The sneakers were made in partnership with Reebok, proving that William’s taste-making was years ahead.
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Adidas Superstar 'Supercolour' collection, 2015
The following year, Williams continued his partnership with Adidas by launching 50 different colourways of the iconic Superstars. The release saw the sneaker available in every vibrant shade imaginable, from turquoise to fuchsia. It was also in 2015 that Williams’s version of the NMDs dropped, solidifying his work with Adidas as one of the most successful fashion collaborations to date.
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G-Star Raw collection, 2017
In 2017—following two years of partnership—G-Star Raw and Williams released a sustainable collection. The collection saw plastic being recycled into denim, reducing wastage and the negative impact fashion had on the environment. With compatibilities in innovation and design ethos, William’s involvement with G-Star seemed a natural fit.
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Chanel Pharrell collection, 2019
Williams was close friends with Karl Lagerfeld, which resulting in him walking for the brand and eventually releasing a collaborative capsule collection of his own. Flexing his design skills, the 2019 Chanel Pharrell collection experimented with the words “Coco Pharell” which found themselves emblazoned on T-shirts and sweaters, melding William’s personal style with Chanel’s house codes.