From VA to Japan: How Pharrell’s journey around the world led him to Louis Vuitton 

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  • Published on February 16, 2023
  • Last Updated May 15, 2023
  • In People

Detour tracked the journey of Grammy-award winner Pharrell Williams as he takes on the new role of creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton. 

Pharrell Williams has several titles, and now the Grammy-winning producer, rapper, singer and songwriter can add creative director to the list.

On Tuesday, Williams was named the new menswear creative director for the French fashion brand Louis Vuitton. The position was previously held by fashion designer, Virgil Abloh until his passing in 2021.

The brand shared the news of William’s new role on Instagram.

“Louis Vuitton is delighted to welcome Pharrell Williams as its new Men’s Creative Director. His first collection for Louis Vuitton will be revealed next June during Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.”

The brand acknowledged Williams, 49, as a “visionary whose creative universes expand from music to art, and to fashion.” They added his willingness to “break boundaries” aligns with the Louis Vuitton culture.

The post included a statement from Pietro Beccari, Louis Vuitton’s chairman and CEO. “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. His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter.”

William’s journey to his new role had several significant stops along the way. From his start in Virginia Beach to his style rebirth in Tokyo, the artist has left his imprint around the world.

Virginia Beach, Virginia

The multifaceted artist was born and raised in Virginia Beach. In the early 90s he formed the hip hop and R&B production duo the Neptunes with colleague Chad Hugo. In 1999, along with Hugo and drummer Shay Haley, the trio formed the band N.E.R.D.

Williams became the lead vocalist. The band’s first album, In Search Of… was released in 2002.

Evanston, Illinois

Williams attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Northwestern is the oldest university in Illinois and ranked as one of the most prestigious universities in the world. The artist dropped out after two years to pursue music full time.

Tokyo, Japan

Quickly after the take off of his music career, Williams began to pivot to fashion. In 2003 he formed The Billionaire Boys Club. Williams and his manager Rob Walker partnered with fashion designer and A Bathing Ape creator Nigo, and Japanese graphic designer, Sk8thing to create the urban fashion line. The line’s first brick and mortar was located in the fashion district of Tokyo.

New York, New York

In 2015, the artist was named artist in residence at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The “Happy” artist was locked into a year-long commitment to work with students as part of the school’s 50th anniversary.

Los Angeles, California

Williams currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and son. The 13-time-Grammy Award winner made headlines in 2022 with the $17 million asking price for his glass-covered mansion in 2022. Williams is often seen around town in laidback street fashion, or in skater-influenced threads with his signature wide brimmed hat.

Williams’ designs will make their debut on the runway during Paris Fashion week next June.

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