Louis Vuitton has appointed multitalented singer-songwriter and philanthropist Pharrell Williams as creative director of its menswear division, replacing the late Virgil Abloh, the company said Tuesday.
“Pharrell Williams is a visionary whose creative universes span from music to art to fashion, establishing himself as a global cultural icon over the past 20 years,” the luxury house said in a statement.
News of the appointment first appeared in The Wall Street Journal and Le Figaro.
The “Happy” singer is a 13-time Grammy winner and two-time Oscar nominee with experience working with luxury brands and designers like the late Karl Lagerfeld.
The appointment is effective immediately. Williams’ first collection is scheduled to show during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June.
The position had been vacant since November 2021, when Abloh died of cancer at age 41. He was an innovative designer and trendsetter known for fusing streetwear and high fashion.
Abloh’s ubiquitous and consumer-friendly presence in culture was broad and dynamic.
Some compared him to Jeff Koons. Others hailed him as the Lagerfeld of his generation, the Chanel creative director who died in 2019.
Abloh was the first black menswear director at Louis Vuitton, one of France’s most storied fashion houses.
After Abloh’s death, the brand continued with flashy men’s shows, largely without a creative director.
A DJ and founder of the Off-White brand, Abloh turned the job at Louis Vuitton into that of “curator,” rather than simply “designer,” as he expanded his interests to homewares, art, jewelry, design industry and architecture.
Williams collaborated with the luxury group LVMH (Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) in 2004 and 2008.
He had a hugely popular sneaker collaboration with Chanel in 2017 and a unisex clothing collection in 2019 that he designed with Lagerfeld.
He also has his own fashion brands, including Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream.
“His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton into a new and very exciting chapter,” the brand’s new president and chief executive officer, Pietro Beccari, said in the statement.