Pharrell Williams discusses the developing codes of his Louis Vuitton design language, and drops a pretty major hint about an upcoming LV traveling show.
“I’m just so happy to be back here in Hong Kong,” said Pharrell Williams yesterday afternoon. We were sitting in a suite overlooking the water below, where the bustling maritime traffic included a catamaran and a junk boat—both with Louis Vuitton sails in full furl—that were shuttling a hardy crew of influencers around Victoria Bay. Vogue Runway had been invited to parlay with Williams after taking a quick look inside the fittings studio for the that was presented this evening on the waterside Avenue of Stars. He discussed why he felt compelled to bring his second ever show to Hong Kong, the developing codes in his design language, and his thoughts on at Louis Vuitton. He also dropped a pretty major hint about an upcoming LV traveling show, and unpacked how he integrates his own style obsessions within the wider menswear output of the house. Below, edited, is what he had to say. Pharrell Williams: I love to tell stories. It’s fun going into a world and thinking about what that person would be wearing, what that person would be thinking and feeling. It’s already gone from Paris to Virginia and now it’s traveling from Hawaii to Hong Kong: I love that transition between one world and another, and anticipating what that person is going to need. In this collection there is the sailor, because that archetype is a traveler by nature. And it’s infusing all the codes of the dandy mentality. I think that they’re just starting to speak. The themes change, but the consistency of the codes is ever present. I just think that’s important. I mean, when I was first appointed, my whole goal was about leveling up. I love going beyond the definition of chic and modernity: I love leaning forward. And it needs to be wearable. You know, desirability is a huge thing for the house. But I believe desirability needs to also have its equal weight in wearability. There is the serious intrinsic value, which is “well made.” And well made for me isn’t just the way that something is assembled, it’s also the materials that one is using. It’s also not just what you’re using, it’s you use it. That to me is a true new definition of luxury. Last time I said my definition of luxury is convenience. But it’s also how it is done. And the stories that we tell around the . That’s what shows you why something is valuable. It’s important to do that, especially if you’re going to be authentic to your ambitions. I started wearing pearls, maybe 20-something years ago. And it was because it just dawned on me that—I don't even know if you call it a stone, and it’s to me a jewel—the pearl is the one jewel that is generated by an organism. Diamonds are about carbon, pressure, heat. But pearls are about life. It’s beautiful. Yeah, they surf, they do. I don’t—I haven’t learned yet. I never really grasped the idea of falling off the board, into the water. But it’s beautiful. And I used to bodyboard back in the day. But standing on it? I wish I had a much better answer, but really I’m just enjoying myself. I haven’t really stopped. I’m still on it: still on the roller coaster. Someone on a rollercoaster will be able to tell you that they’re having a lot of fun, but they can only tell you the view from their seat. But it’s absolutely fascinating and exhilarating. Coming here to Asia was important. My Asian siblings have always been good to me… since the very beginning of my career this was a community that has lifted me and always championed me to keep going. It’s like when I met Nigo, my life changed. So I wanted the very next stop to be Asia. And when you zoom into it Hong Kong is a very special place. When you think about the world’s economy I’d argue that this is one of the real true pressure points of the world. I’d hesitate to say it’s the specific heartbeat, but it’s a main artery for sure. So for me it’s very important to be here with the people here. Sure they have a great impact on our business, but beyond that I’m also talking about the energy here; the culture, the art… The last time I was here in Hong Kong was for Jupiter. And they were just coming out of, you know, a three-plus year cycle where a lot of people couldn’t really move. They were quarantined… I feel like a lot of my Asian brothers and sisters have been through a lot over the last few years. Yeah. So it’s just good to be back here with them, smelling the same air and staring at the same beautiful water, you know, watching them be so excited about their markets opening back up and being reinvigorated and, we’re hoping, going to new heights. I know the world is going through somewhat of a recessive moment: it feels like an ebb. But it’s beautiful to watch the Chinese people get ready to flow. And it’s beautiful to be here. Well, you’re not too far off! . Yeah—you’ll win that one! You know, everything starts with creativity and inspiration for me. That’s always going to be number one. I think the business, you put as an infrastructure around it. I don’t lead with business and then try to clad Read more