Pharrell Williams stages Louis Vuitton debut

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STORY: In a show that further anchored the LVMH-owned label in popular culture, models strode across the gold-painted runway to live music. They paraded pearl-embellished tracksuits, furry outerwear and sparkling jackets with the label's signature checkmark pattern, in all colors and sizes, including shades of camouflage.

Crowds gathered along the Seine River, craning for a glimpse of the looks, which continued LV's approach of mixing street style with luxury.

"I'm the second Black man to ever experience this on the planet, the biggest fashion house in the world," Williams said in an interview before the show, referring to his job since February.

Best known as the singer and writer of pop hits "Happy" and "Blurred Lines," the 50-year-old Williams ended months of speculation by filling the shoes of his friend Virgil Abloh, who held the job from March 2018 until his death in November 2021. Abloh had been the industry's highest-profile Black designer, credited with forging a place for street style and loose skateboard looks in high-end fashion.

"My brother Virgil was the first. He made so many strides for the house and did so many things. He brought skate culture into this world - while being an American Black man. It's unreal the fact that I get to do this as well," said Williams.

LVMH Chairman and Chief Executive Bernard Arnault and his family, whom Williams has known for years, have been "extremely supportive" in his new role, Williams said.

Williams was first introduced to the Arnault clan in a collaboration to design sunglasses with Louis Vuitton designer Marc Jacobs in 2004.

Arnault and his children, all of whom hold important positions in LVMH, were seated in the front row, as well as Beyonce, Jay-Z and Kim Kardashian.