It was a starry night that swelled with whispering winds and lunar light when Pharrell Williams’ presented his sophomore menswear collection for the house of Louis Vuitton. The polymath’s first pre-collection for the maison, what unfolded before a star-studded set on onlookers in the seaside metropole of Hong Kong SAR was a magnificent spectacle peppered with the rebellious spirit integral to surf culture and visions of Neptune – the Roman god of the seas. For Pharrell, who grew up in Virginia Beach, water has long been the elixir of his creativity, so under him, Louis Vuitton cloaked The Avenue of Stars and its surrounding seas in nautically inspired garb, a flurry of flowers, a lights show and even an LV logo-embossed yacht.
A troupe of ukulele players preceded LV’s promenade of maritime dandies who were decked seafaring symbolism, pearl-encrusted pinstripes, ukulele pendants and picks and hibiscus appliques which elevated tropical flower shirts, typical of Hawaii. The collection moved “with the gravitational force of the moon” like the oceans that swish between continents. It was both bohemian and metropolitan, suited, booted and super soft, upholding a wardrobe embraced across continents.
To stage the show on The Avenue of Stars, which sits on Victoria Harbour along the panoramic waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui and has often been lauded as “an epicentre of cultural exchange” – welcoming sailors from as far back as the fifteenth century – made sense. The collection set out to celebrate the connective power of travel through the use of cross-continental styles and nautical themes, carrying forward the LVERS philosophy that underpinned Pharrell’s debut LV range, from VA to Paris. From the ocean-going extravaganza, here are 10 key takeaways. Emily Phillips
1. The show was held on the Avenue Of Stars in Hong Kong SAR, backdropped by the breathtaking Victoria Harbour. Paul Toner
2. This was the first catwalk show Louis Vuitton has staged for its menswear pre-fall collections, and was the first pre-fall collection Pharrell has ever designed. PT
3. “From Hawaii to Hong Kong”, the collection celebrated “the connective power of travel” and blended local traditions with multicultural influences. PT
4. Nautical themes were seen throughout, as Pharrell Met classic menswear staples with the uniforms of sailors, fishermen and surfers. PT
5. Pharrell composed the music for the show, which featured vocals from former 10 Men cover star Swae Lee alongside Rauw Alejandro. Entitled Airplane Tickets it was performed live by fifty ukulele players. PT
6. The show’s models included street-cast locals, friends and members of the Hawaiian surfer community. PT
7. Pharrell introduced a new “surfing monogram” inspired by floral shirts. PT
8. The atelier crafted a slew of the show’s bags from Damier Scuba Leather and Damier Denim accented with pearl zip pullers. Some were hand-woven from raffia, while others came hand-embroidered with seashells. PT
9. Pharrell introduced a new shots: the LV Cobra, a 3D-printed slip on which was developed using LV-exclusive, zero-waste technology. PT
10. The show carried forward the ‘LVERS’ philosophy from Pharrell’s debut back in June, emblazoned across the sky thanks to a group of drones. PT
Written by Paul Toner and Emily Phillips. Photography courtesy of Louis Vuitton.