Thirteen details in Pharrell's latest Louis Vuitton collection you might have missed

From travel to beaded garments, see why Hawaii and Hong Kong shine in the noted fashion house's new offering

05 December 2023 - 09:16
By Thango Ntwasa
Pharrell takes a bow at his Louis Vuitton show.
Image: Supplied Pharrell takes a bow at his Louis Vuitton show.

This year all eyes have been on Grammy-winning musician Pharrell Williams as he became the men's wear creative director of luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton. While his recent shows have been met with positivity, Williams still has big shoes to fill as the replacement for the late Virgil Abloh.

In this collection, Williams brings in the playful storytelling that mirrors Abloh's previous inspirations that look at a number of elements of clothing, set pieces and the Parisian house's affinity for bold accessories.

Here's a look at 13 elements you may have missed in Williams' pre-fall collection.

Travel takes centre stage at Louis Vuitton's latest collection.
Image: Supplied Travel takes centre stage at Louis Vuitton's latest collection.

1. HAWAII TO HONG KONG 

For his first pre-collection for Louis Vuitton (and the Maison’s first Men’s Pre-Fall show) Pharrell Williams surfs the slipstream of the seafarers with inspiration from Hawaii to Hong Kong and everywhere in between. Titled Hawaii to Hong Kong, the collection illustrates the connective power of travel through nautical themes. The codes of surfing and tropical floral prints celebrate a wardrobe embraced across continents.

2. ENERGY CONVEYORS

Following on from the idea of the conduit that underpinned Williams’ debut collection for Louis Vuitton, from Hawaii to Hong Kong reflects on the multicultural influences present in familiar wardrobe staples, and their evolution as they travel around the world. For Williams this makes clothes energy conveyors, which Williams defines as garments associated with the nature-centric, bohemian lifestyle of surfing, which have the power to create the energy of the beaches in Hawaii for a wearer in the urban environment of Hong Kong.

3. THE AVENUE OF STARS

The show along the panoramic waterfront of Tsim Sha Tsui, a 440-metre promenade that was established in 1982 and reopened in 2004 as a monument to the stars of Hong Kong’s film industry. Victoria Harbour is noted as an epicentre of cultural exchange and has welcomed seafarers from around the world since the 15th century. Being close to the water is a constant theme and grounding force for Williams, who grew up in Virginia Beach, US. The port serves as his symbol of the mind-expanding power of travel.

4. CELESTIAL NAVIGATION

The dandy silhouette takes notes from sailor uniforms expressed in navy or maritime-striped double-breasted suits with flared trousers or shorts. Pea and double-breasted naval coats are adorned with pearl buttons featured on garments throughout. Stripe motifs are recreated in miniature strings of pearls encrusted on a double-breasted black coat and shorts. Sailor suits in chambray embed a nautical vocabulary within the grammar of Pharrell Williams.

Sailors and surfers are a consistent motif seen in the collection.
Image: Supplied Sailors and surfers are a consistent motif seen in the collection.
Denim and chambray make for a great nod to sea gods, lakes and seas that inspire Pharrell Williams.
Image: Supplied Denim and chambray make for a great nod to sea gods, lakes and seas that inspire Pharrell Williams.

5. NEPTUNE

Neptune — the Roman god of the seas and fresh water — appears in a pattern inspired by floral shirts typical of Hawaii, as well as a denim bomber jacket embellished with pearls and crystals, a nod to the lakes and fishermen of Virginia.

Patterns familiar to sailors are reimagined with unexpected elements. Knitted cardigans feature a new infinity LV logo latticed like net, the jacquard of a suit and shorts, and the nylon sleeves of a mixed-material leather jacket.

7. THE SURFER

Not only is Williams inspired by skater culture but has heavily contributed to its longevity. Naturally it made a number of appearances in the collection bridging a link with surf culture.

The surfer wardrobe materialises as scuba suits adorned with beaded logos, linen tailoring and tropical floral prints with motifs of surfers. Shoes and hats woven in raffia embody the same feeling, alongside braided beach bracelets and charm jewellery crafted from wooden beads and enamel flowers.

8. ALOHA

Ten patterns created in the Louis Vuitton studio pay homage to the tropical flower shirt that has become associated with Hawaii. 

The collection’s patterns are an ode to this mindset, expressed in prints, jacquards and embellishments across shirts, shorts, suits and accessories. The floral motifs take three-dimensional form in a suede shirt and shorts with handcrafted leather hibiscus and logo appliqué.

9. FOOTPRINTS

The LV Dandy loafer embraces its nautical expression in two-tone leather and mono-colour suede editions — some adorned with tropical floral illustrations or locks in Swarovski crystals and gold — along with a magnified LV Checker leather derby with military laces. A surf-inspired LV Trainer is crafted in raffia and appears alongside a Damier-stitch multicolour edition of the LV Maxi Trainer and the LV Space Lander, a new lightweight rubber sneaker with a Damier denim upper and elastic slip-on band.

Old and new bags are given playful spins in the Hawaii to Hong Kong collection.
Image: Supplied Old and new bags are given playful spins in the Hawaii to Hong Kong collection.

10. COBRA

But these are not the only shoes turning heads on the runway. The 3D-printed slip-on, the LV COBRA, is a new slip-on created with 3D-printing shoe. A breakthrough in material innovation of mixed-texture printing, it allows a seamless blend between textured and smooth materials within a single shoe.

With no assembly, stitching, or gluing involved in its production process, the LV COBRA emerges as a zero-waste design. It appears in black and cream colourways.

11. CARGO

New additions for LV bags include the new surfing monogram — inspired by Hawaiian scenery — which appears in four different colours. Bags crafted in yellow Damier Scuba leather incorporate black aqua zips. The Damier Denim 3D line evolves the pattern across Speedy editions and other icons with pearl-adorned zip pullers. The magnified chaine et trame of the Damier Heritage captures the naval essence of the collection in nautical blue and optical white with orange details.

12. LV SUPER VISION

The Super Vision sunglasses are crafted in light titanium, drawing from the materials of ships and seasoned wood as a nod to the nature-centric energy of the surfer wardrobes. They appear in round, pilot and sport frames.

13. SOUVENIRS

The collection embraces naval accessories seen in denim berets, chambray caps, sailor-bucket hats, and embroidered cotton beanies.