All the Substacks and TikTokers have hit ‘post’ on their Pharrell x Louis Vuitton SS24 hot takes.
So, here’s mine.
I was expecting to hate the show and collection. I’m a lifelong celebrity avoider and I don’t love hype. But I decided to approach with an open mind. The show took place on Paris’s oldest bridge, the Pont Neuf, which was covered in giant gold Louis Vuitton Damier check (LV-speak for chequerboard) with LVMH’s Cheval Blanc hotel conveniently positioned in the background. With a live orchestra, bespoke music composed by Pharrell that you can now – of course – purchase and a AAA-list celebrity front row, it was a major extravaganza.
The show has polarised critics. There’s been plenty of pearl-clutching of the “he’s a celebrity not a designer” variety, with equal amounts of “he understood the assignment” praise for his commercial nous. I sympathise with the first camp. But the pop culture-ification of fashion has been coming for aeons. We brought this on by ‘democratising’ fashion, encouraging ‘see now buy now’, live-streaming and inviting celebs and influencers to overshadow the collections. The toothpaste is long out of the tube, off the brush and down the plughole at this point.
All that aside, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t ground-breaking and didn’t reinventing the wheel. But it was a fabulous show, with incredible music and a choir performance by Voices of Fire. And to me, it was a focused, commercial collection with plenty of ripe-for-now ideas. The styling and casting were great and aside from the odd varsity jacket, it wasn’t a predictable streetwear fest. Celeb-wise, I couldn’t care less about Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Zendaya, Kim et al. Or the concert afterwards. But I can say that the right music is something that really adds a magical element to a fashion show. It can be almost spiritually uplifting and make the event something that stays with you forever.
About the collection, my favourite pieces were the (un)belted buff coat, loose tailored shorts, Damier tailoring and pop-coloured chequerboard bags, plus the brooches and jewellery. And I’m wondering if we might see some Pharrell-induced watch action emerging. I’d love a new take on the Gae Aulenti Monterey II (worn by Jean Arnault – swipe) – but please, not splattered in diamonds. Watching the re-see videos, there’s some highly questionable footwear and unnecessary bling.
My fave ever Louis Vuitton RTW show was the first one. The OG ‘quiet luxury’ debut LV collection by Marc Jacobs, it was famously minimalist and featured just one bag. Innocent times! But we’ve moved on and New Luxury is about spectacle and pizzazz. The new luxury customer is much younger; today it’s normal for 15 year olds to wear Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga. (The Row and Alaia, not so much.)
So, for LVMH this is the right hire for their needs and watching the full video (I urge you to do so), I’d agree with Amy Odell, Mr Arnault looked pretty content totting up the possible millions set to come his way.
WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Louis Vuitton menswear SS24
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