As the 1,300 guests filed into an auditorium erected on the grounds of the Frank Gehry-designed Foundation Louis Vuitton, it was obvious that Pharrell had already contributed healthily to LV’s bottom line. The promise of the Pharrell era was that he would bring the commercial intuition of an uber-stylish luxury client and the forward-thinking creative vision of, well, one of his generation’s foremost creative visionaries. Inside, clients and celebrities wore clutched Speedy bags of every color in the rainbow, and Pharrell’s debut collection was everywhere. It was obvious what had been flying off the rails at LV boutiques: “damouflage” blazers, embroidered varsity jackets, and even those beanies embroidered with chess boards of pearls, of which I lost count. It was, apparently, the highest-selling men’s collection in Louis Vuitton history.

Once Playboi Carti took his seat atop an enormous LV briefcase he had brought with him, the show began. The challenge of designing cowboy-inspired fashion is it’s been done by everyone already. Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel, Raf Simons at Calvin Klein, DSquared2, even Pharrell’s predecessor Virgil Abloh at Off-White—the motifs are instantly recognizable and literal. That well has long run dry.

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