Pharrell and Luxury Fashion’s Hip-Hop Obsession

The appointment of the storied hip-hop and pop producer Pharrell Williams to the creative director of men’s wear at Louis Vuitton marks a new phase of the union of hip-hop style and luxury clothing, two worlds that have been hurtling toward each other for more than two decades, but have lately become close kin.

Williams steps into a role that had been fundamentally remade by Virgil Abloh, a protégé of Kanye West, who made Louis Vuitton a must-see and, for many, a must-wear during the years he was in charge (until his death in 2020). Williams comes to the role with a long history of pushing the boundaries of hip-hop style, a series of big brand collaborations and the mystique of global celebrity.

On this week’s Popcast, a conversation about how hip-hop style has become a key part of men’s wear, how Williams has been central to connecting the dots between streetwear and luxury, and the potential directions Louis Vuitton might take under his direction.