It was a given that, for the first collection under the stewardship of new menswear Creative Director Pharrell Williams, Louis Vuitton was going to Put On A Show. All capitals. Snaps fingers.

Oh to be a fly on the wall when the Louis Vuitton team floated the idea of taking over the entirety of the Pont Neuf in Paris. And then to be a fly on the wall in the meeting to request it… Request and succeed they did. Complete with a Damier pattern ground covering and live orchestra providing the backing track.

Williams has, of course, been a figure in fashion for a long time – Chanel muse, his collaborations with adidas and of course his own streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club. So the question from the audience ahead of his debut was less about his credentials in the field but how, and if, he would continue on the legacy of his predecessor or if this would be a reset for Louis Vuitton.

And that audience was itself as much a part of the show: newly minted LV ambassador Zendaya and stylist Law Roach; Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, Tyler the Creator, Kim Kardashian and Lenny Kravitz turned the front row into a virtual rock concert experience. This was made reality at the end with a live performance from Williams himself alongside Jay-Z.


Turns out somewhere in the middle. Where Abloh would sometimes get caught up in his own creativity – not that this was a bad thing, it made for brilliant spectacles for shows – Williams has shown some surprising constraint in comparison. There’s still the occasional sense of more-ishness to some of the details but that, too, is kept playful. It struck a balance between the artistically motivated and the wearable.

Louis Vuitton, Pharrell Williams

The first look –  a blazer with oversized lapels teamed with shorts in tonal sage, pixelated camo-coloured gumboots, leather bag emblazoned with gold LV monogramming and Damier tie – was pure Williams. In that, it’s the exact kind of style that the rapper was prone to wear himself.

Then the story began to unfold and while Williams is blatantly not straying too far from Abloh’s playfulness, it’s clear that he has his own point of view for the brand.

Louis Vuitton, Pharrell Williams

The manipulation of the Damier print into a pixelated print was a thread throughout the collection. Appearing in chunks of colour that looked like patchwork, or reworked more subtly across suiting to give the impression of light across its surface. Or simply a direct application to introduce various fades and shades of washed denim or contrast checks on a leather biker jacket. The camo-hued variety will no doubt tickle those who grew on Minecraft ie a fairly sizeable chunk of the generation the house is targeting.

Louis Vuitton

Abloh’s penchant for graphic logo was distilled in favour for these graphic surfaces. There was still the familiar sense of humour though – a pair of oversized fluffy sneakers that looked like slippers; the collection of stitched portraits on a suit; a Damier teddy bear. And the sudden appearance of a golf cart, a nod to Williams own preppy sensibilities perhaps.

Louis Vuitton, Pharrell Williams

Most uniquely Williams was the presence of embellishment. The 50-year-old is famous for his fondness of pearls and jewellery at large and models were decked out in everything from chokers and chains to a revival of the much-missed brooch. It also saw a whole new world of Louis Vuitton bags given the Williams treatment.