Jun 21, 2023
How does the CEO of Louis Vuitton evaluate the first big show of the new menswear creative director?
At 9:30 p.m. local time on June 20, the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton's 2024 spring and summer menswear show was staged in Pont Neuf, Paris.
Models present creations for the Louis Vuitton Menswear Spring-Summer 2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on the Pont Neuf, central Paris, on June 20, 2023. (Photo courtesy of JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP)
This is the first big show for the brand's new menswear creative director, Pharrell Williams, since he took office in February this year. The outside world is curious about what Louis Vuitton will look like under the leadership of such a hip-hop superstar and fashionista.
Before the big show, the brand CEO Pietro Beccari said frankly: "This (referring to choosing a celebrity to lead the creative work of Louis Vuitton) is very risky, but after the death of (former) Virgil (Abloh), I cannot choose a traditional designer. I need someone who has something more, a creative person who can touch people's hearts through music and fashion."
The Italian executive became chief executive of Louis Vuitton in February after being president and chief executive of Christian Dior Couture, Dior's haute couture division.
Pharrell Williams (left) and Pietro Beccari (right)
Pharrell Williams is the winner of 13 Grammy Awards and was nominated for an Oscar twice. He not only owns his personal fashion brands, Billionaire Boys Club, Icecream, etc., but also has rich experience cooperating with luxury brands and designers.
As a singer who has been active in the hip-hop music scene since 2000, Pharrell Williams has a very high popularity among young people, especially Generation Z. In this regard, Pietro Beccari pointed out: "Through Pharrell, we may reach those who have never heard of Louis Vuitton or those who thought that Louis Vuitton could not provide them with anything."
Pietro Beccari and Pharrell Williams first met in 2008, when Pietro, then Louis Vuitton's marketing director, invited Pharrell to a second collaboration with the brand, designing a jewelry collection.
The Rock On Cherub ring by Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton in 2008.
Talking about the impression of the first meeting, Pietro Beccari recalled: "Honestly, I saw a particularly great person. And I think what he saw in me was not the glamorous appearance of greatness, but that we all came from small towns. Come out; we have similar stories. He is a real person, very humble, never arrogant, but he has great instincts and great creativity."
For the achievements of Pharrell Williams, Pietro Beccari highly recognized that "Pharrell can turn stones into gold; he did not study music, but this did not stop him from winning 13 Grammys. To be honest, when I was working at Dior, I thought Pharrell should be the designer hired by Louis Vuitton."
At the same time, he recalled the process of contact between the two parties: "On December 22 last year, I sent Pharrell the first text message. We had a call on the 23rd. By February 14 this year, we signed the contract."
In order to devote himself to creating the first series, Pharrell Williams began to settle in Paris and often commuted between the adjacent studio and the recording studio. "He arrived at the office at 9:30 in the morning and rarely left before 9:00 in the evening. I love what I do, and I'm sure you'll see a great collection, and I'm proud of it," said Pietro Beccari.
At the same time, he revealed that Paris also inspired Pharrell Williams' musical creativity: "In his next album, we will definitely see Parisian elements; at least 90% of the works are created from a Parisian perspective."
In the new series, Pharrell Williams has created 71 looks, including blazers, skirts, pearl-embroidered sportswear, crocodile leather baseball jackets, and other items.
Louis Vuitton 2024 Spring and Summer Menswear Series
"This collection is meant to underscore that Louis Vuitton also knows how to tailor for the dressy man who wants to be more elegant."
As for how to manage Pharrell, a 50-year-old and successful creative talent, Pietro Beccari said: "I am also 55 years old, and I am also at the forefront of my track! In this regard, you have to find a balance. I have managed many talents, such as Maria Grazia Chiuri and Kim Jones at Dior, have also worked alongside fashion legends Karl Lagerfeld, Silvia Fendi, and Marc Jacobs."
"So now that I'm working with Pharrell, I have a thicker skin. It's like we're playing a new game where everyone wants to do their job, and at the end of the day, you have to lose a few battles and make some compromises to move forward in the set direction. This process is full of difficulties, but it is the key to building a close relationship."
When asked whether the brand will increase the proportion of ready-to-wear business in the future, Pietro Beccari replied, "I think ready-to-wear is already very important. Although I will not disclose specific figures, look at our boutiques and the proportion of ready-to-wear products. The average display area has reached 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, which is enough space to display the unconstrained ideas of ready-to-wear collections. In addition, our advertisements also highlight the image of ready-to-wear."
Pietro Beccari has high hopes for the menswear business. He revealed, "Our store on the Champs Elysees in Paris just achieved record-breaking sales last week."
Regarding how to lead the future development of Louis Vuitton, Pietro Beccari pointed out that his strategy is very clear, namely, to amplify the brand's voice in important cities around the world.
In the past four months, Louis Vuitton has held two big shows in Paris and South Korea. "I like to add a lot of ideas and work intensity to a team. We have been very busy in the past 100 days. However, the brand power of Louis Vuitton Let it have a magic (fantasy) that others can't imagine."