What Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton Debut Means for Designers, Fashion, and Culture at Large

The Pont Neuf is Paris’s oldest bridge, dating back to the 16th century, and this summer, Louis Vuitton claimed it as its own. The brand decked the surface in a golden version of its signature checkerboard Damier motif and ferried some of the world’s most starry people—LeBron, Rihanna, DiCaprio, Beyoncé—to the front row in a boat. A gospel choir’s rousing benediction filled the air as models, including former Zegna designer Stefano Pilati and rapper Pusha T, sauntered down the runway illuminated by the warm mauve glow of a perfect Parisian sunset. The show closed with a surprise performance by Jay-Z. Vuitton had named Pharrell Williams as its newest men’s creative director back in February, but it wasn’t until this spectacle of extravagance that his arrival was well and truly announced.

It should be noted that there was plenty of navel-gazing and hand-wringing by the fashion press when the Pharrell news

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