13-time Grammy Award-winning artiste Pharrell Williams (known to most simply as “Pharrell”) has been hired by Louis Vuitton’s new CEO Pietro Beccari to helm the artistic direction of its menswear designs.
“Louis Vuitton is delighted to welcome @Pharrell as its new Men’s Creative Director,” Louis Vuitton tweeted at 2am Singapore time on February 15, 2023.
Pharrell started bands like The Neptunes and N⋆E⋆R⋆D with friends like Chad Hugo and Shay Haley in the early 1990s. It’s not so commonly known that he is cousins with Timbaland and formed a short-lived band with him too. The Neptunes and N⋆E⋆R⋆D didn’t get much love from radio stations, but garnered immense cult followings among the too-cool-for-school set.
Today, younger listeners might know Pharrell by his number one hits like Blurred Lines (with Robin Thicke and T.I.), Get Lucky (with Daft Punk), Drop It Like It’s Hot (with Snoop Dogg) and Happy. He is also a judge on the reality TV show The Voice.
Pharrell is no stranger to fashion either. His early ventures include Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream footwear, which he created with A Bathing Ape founder Nigo in 2005. Pharrell’s first partnership with Louis Vuitton was announced in 2008 when he co-designed eyewear and jewelry for the maison.
The owner of one of the biggest rare and vintage luxury collections in the world, Nigo would embark on endeavors in music and fashion similar to Pharrell’s. A fan of watch brands like Cartier and Audemars Piguet, Nigo would go on to become Kenzo’s current creative director and partner with Virgil Abloh to create a capsule collection for Louis Vuitton in 2020.
2020, Nigo partnered with Luxury brand Louis Vuitton alongside Virgil Abloh to create a capsule collection. The Teriyaki Boyz member released a solo full-length album named I Know Nigo! in 2022, which featured A$AP Rocky, A$AP Ferg, Gunna, Lil Uzi Vert, Tyler the Creator and Pop Smoke (R.I.P.).
Over the years, Pharrell has collaborated with the who’s who of fashion brands like Adidas, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Moncler and Tiffany & Co.
Today, the baby-faced Pharrell (who turns 50 this April) too has reached the height of his fashion and musical career. In 2017, he held a Louis XIII cognac-sponsored listening party for only 100 people, then buried that record in the ground. In a bid to raise awareness for climate change, this record will only be dug up in 2117, and will be unlistenable or even have disintegrated depending on the state of pollution.
In the same spirit, he released “The Pebble” in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, a portable utensil set that consists a knife, fork, spoon, straw and chopsticks. This brightly colored set was designed by Otherware, a collaboration between Pharrell Williams’ creative brand I Am Other and sustainable design company Pentatonic, and was made from recycled CDs in a bid to reduce single-use plastic and encourage people to eat at home to reduce COVID infection rates. Pharrell is also slated to open a designer hotel in the Bahamas next year, in partnership with hospitality entrepreneur David Grutman.
Pharrell’s dazzling watch collection
In 2019, Richard Mille debuted the 30-piece limited edition RM 52-05 Tourbillon Pharrell Williams that was priced at USD 969,000. Inspired by Pharrell’s memory of the Mariner 9 spacecraft that went on a mission to explore Mars in the early 70s, this watch was designed in collaboration with Pharrell, a Richard Mille diehard.
He has been seen wearing models like the RM 011 Lotus F1, an automatic chronograph that bears the colors of British F1 Team-Romain Grosjean; the RM 58-01 Tourbillon World Timer, which was inspired by the jetsetter lifestyle of former FIA President Jean Todt; the RM 056 Tourbillon Sapphire, which is a see-through and five-piece limited edition tourbillon chronograph; the RM 70-01 Tourbillon Alain Prost, which is an asymetrical 30-piece limited edition tourbillon; the RM 52 Tourbillon Skull that is themed on memento mori, and, most memorably, the RM 25-01 Tourbillon Adventure Sylvester Stallone while volunteering at a homeless shelter.
Both Nigo and Pharrell have previously been spotted wearing the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Concept Carbon, which is a tourbillon watch with linear chronograph minute counter, function selection indicator and power-reserve indicator. Pharrell has also been seen wearing Jacob & Co. watches like the Jacob & Co. Rainbow Tourbillon and the Jacob & Co. Five Time Zone watch, which brand founder Jacob Arabo launched in 2001 and became the choice bling of celebrities in New York City in the early noughties.
Big shoes to fill
Pharrell has, for three decades, reigned as the King Midas of cool. Today, Pharrell joins one of the most sought-after brands in the world, succeeding the inimitable Virgil Abloh who passed away in November 2021. Louis Vuitton has strengthened and legitimized its watchmaking capabilities when it acquired La Fabrique du Temps in 2012, which culminated in Louis Vuitton winning the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève Audacity Prize for its Tambour Carpe Diem and the Diver’s Watch Prize for its Tambour Street Diver in 2021.
“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,” remarked Louis Vuitton Chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari. “His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.”
Williams’ first Louis Vuitton collection will be shown in June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.