And maybe that’s all LVMH wants—a brand ambassador who has celebrity friends and makes good accessories. Traditionally, accessories account for most of a luxury brand’s sales, and apparently Pharrell’s are selling like hotcakes despite the very high price points. He’s the most ideal billboard for the collection and he is tied to music and entertainment, inviting artists like Playboi Carti, Lil Yachty, Gunna, Quavo, and more to the show. The show also featured new songs Pharrell made with the Native Voices of Resistance, Mumford & Sons, Jelly Roll, and Miley Cyrus.
The experience was entertaining. The execs at LVMH are probably pleased, but it felt like something was missing. We fell in love with Pharrell because he was so innovative, mining older sounds with his Neptunes production partner Chad Hugo, and taking them to a new, weird, but good, dimension. His music appealed to the masses without being generic and changed the sound of rap, pop, and R&B. And as that was happening, Pharrell was mining the aesthetics of the past, too, mixing hip-hop codes with luxury, skate, and prep. Now at Louis Vuitton, he’s making nice pieces, but they are lacking the verve or fully formed intentionality that we’ve seen from Pharrell in other areas. The grunge is gone.
Pharrell isn’t a fashion designer. He’s not helping us reconsider how we might view a garment or displaying a strong or unique vision. But he is doing the job LVMH hired him to do. And if sales are an indication of success, he’s doing it well. I just hope that he digs a little deeper. That doesn’t mean becoming something he’s not, but it means considering how the audience, not just the consumer, is taking in his collection. That means providing a vision that’s not solely rooted in SKUs and sales, but one that makes us see people, places, and things in a new light. That’s the power of fashion, and it’s a power we’ve seen Pharrell tap into over the years by introducing us to new things and shaping our interests. We hope he gets back to that while he’s at Louis Vuitton.
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