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Pharrell Williams Introduces Paris to Old West Flair

During his most recent show as creative director of Louis Vuitton, Pharrell Williams transported the American West to Paris on Tuesday by showcasing a collection full of cowboy hats and rhinestones. Williams, who is well-known for her hits, including “Happy” and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, signed on with the French company last year, a sign of the growingly profitable blending of fashion, music, and celebrity.

With a collection full of denim, tassels, ponchos with Native American influences, pearl and sequin floral embroidery, and enough cowboy boot and hat variations to fill a country music festival, he was the star of the first day of Paris Fashion Week. It was billed in the program notes as “an investigation into the beginnings ofworkwear through the savoir faire of Louis Vuitton”.

A large hangar next to the Louis Vuitton Foundation art museum in western Paris served as the venue for the event, which drew celebrities like rapper Pusha T and actor Bradley Cooper. Williams performed with a group of Native American musicians and the British band Mumford and Sons as the evening came to a close.

For Vuitton, which last year became the first to hit 20 billion euros ($21.8 billion) in sales, it was just another ostentatious, expensive publicity stunt. Local authorities have expressed disapproval of the brand’s encroachment on Parisian daily life, especially after Williams blocked traffic in the city’s historic district by taking over the entire Pont Neuf bridge for his runway show last summer.

pressure on designers

Despite its links to social injustice and the environmental harm caused by the fashion industry, the luxury market has emerged as one of the most significant success stories in the European economy. Fall/winter menswear collections from brands like Dior, Hermes, and Loewe are currently on display in Paris, where the season officially kicked off last week in Milan.

Numerous well-known designers have recently been fired in the fierce competition for business, leaving other companies scrambling to stay competitive. This month, Givenchy and menswear director Matthew Williams split. It is still unknown who will take his place. New creative directors were appointed to Gucci, Chloe, and Alexander McQueen last year. This week’s schedule hasn’t changed much, although Balmain will be participating in menswear shows again for the first time.

During menswear week, 42 brands are showcasing their new collections on the runway, while 32 more are hosting presentations. The pace is unrelenting: the most opulent and custom attire can be found during Paris’s haute couture week, which takes place after menswear. The fashion caravan departs from Milan after visiting Paris and travels to Miami, Copenhagen, New York, and London before returning to Milan and Paris for the womenswear shows in February. —AFP

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