WHAT’s next? After Pharrell took his bow at the end of his debut show for Louis Vuitton last June, it was that exact question that left everyone pondering the answer. What comes after a 100-look collection that caused the biggest names in show-business to come to Paris to watch unfold?
Taking over the helm from Virgil Abloh is no small feat. What the late-designer did was an earth-shattering entrance into the luxury sphere that was once deemed unaccessible and now we have a multi-hypenhate musician at its forefront. But unlike Abloh, Pharrell’s fashion influence is rooted in himself and this is exactly what he seems to be bringing to LV.
So what’s next is Pharrell.
For his sophomore collection, he looked at his own past and returned to his birthplace of Virginia aptly titling autumn-winter 2024, Paris Virginia. With this now in mind, he wanted to continue emphasising American culture through the lens of luxury fashion – specifically, American Western.
Exploring the origins of workwear, he employed the savoir-faire of Louis Vuitton ateliers and shared the vision with artists from Dakota and Lakota to authentically build the collection sonically and visually.
The synthesis of these two creative breeding grounds reflects the ecosystem that the creative director has put in place through his LVERS community, hoping to continue connecting global makers through his work.
There are two main design focuses according to the show notes are workwear and tailoring. The first abides by the American Western wardrobe. Obvious motifs are printed onto pieces, chaps arrive in denim or fringed and studded, while leather jackets and trousers reflect saddle marks, and jacquard tapestry stems from original cowboy paintings and are reimagined into raincoats.
The latter takes on the American Dandy. Approached with the aim to elevate country style, vaquero jackets are hand-embroidered with metallic florals, work jackets have sunbeam beading, and the classic Dungaree is reinvented in tailoring fabrics.
Collaborating with Timberland was on obvious move to make for a collection like this. Debossing the Monogram onto the leather and on the back of the tongue, subtle changes were made to the famous silhouette to create a luxury rendition of this hailed boot.
Of course accessories reigned heavy for AW24 as the Speedy made a reappearance, a studded saddle bag debuted and Steamer bags came with hand-painted silver Monograms in crocodile, ostrich and nubuck croc.
Naturally cowboy hats and boots adorned many looks completing the Wild West look, and the famous Millionaire sunglasses first created by Nigo and Pharrell in 2004 were adapted to launch a 3.0 version.
For a brand who’s history and motivation is travel and exploration, Pharrell’s voyage to Virginia seemed like a fitting next move. What the brand has done so well over the past few years is bridge gaps between Parisian ateliers and wealthy consumers with cultural movements from different parts of the world.
Though America’s cowboy culture isn’t necessarily an untapped source of influence in fashion, Pharrell’s take is an appreciated escapism – all that’s missing now is a horse and lasso.