US rapper, artist and fashion designer Pharrell Williams acknowledges applause after presenting creations for the Louis Vuitton Menswear Ready-to-wear Fall-Winter 2024/2025 collection as part of the Paris Fashion Week., in Paris on January 16, 2024. Image Credit: AFP

Pharrell Williams brought the American West to Paris on Tuesday as he presented a collection full of cowboy hats and rhinestones for his latest show as creative director at Louis Vuitton.

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Williams, known for hit singles such as ‘Happy’ and singing on Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky”, joined the French brand last year in a sign of the increasingly lucrative cross-pollination between fashion, music and celebrity.

He was the headline act on the first day of Paris Fashion Week, with a collection full of denim, tassels, Native American-inspired ponchos, pearl and sequin floral embroideries, and enough varieties of cowboy boots and hats to fill a country music festival.

The show notes described it as “an exploration of the origins of workwear through the savoir faire of Louis Vuitton”.

The show was held in a large hangar beside the company’s Louis Vuitton Foundation art museum in western Paris and attracted stars including actors Bradley Cooper and Omar Sy, and rappers Playboi Carti and Pusha T.

The night ended with Williams performing alongside the British band Mumford and Sons and a group of Native American musicians.

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A model presents a creation by designer Pharrell Williams as part of his Menswear ready-to-wear Fall-Winter 2024/2025 collection show for fashion house Louis Vuitton during Men's Fashion Week in Paris, France, January 16, 2024. REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq Image Credit: REUTERS

It was another extravagantly expensive publicity stunt for Vuitton, which last year became the first to hit 20 billion euros ($21.8 billion) in revenues.

There has been criticism from local officials over the brand’s intrusions on daily life in Paris, particularly after Williams took over the entire Pont Neuf bridge for his debut runway show last summer, shutting down traffic in the city’s historic centre.Designers under pressure —

Designers under pressure

The luxury sector has become one of the most crucial success stories in the European economy despite its associations with social inequality and the environmental damage wrought by the fashion industry.

The season began in Milan last week and continues in Paris with autumn/winter menswear collections from the likes of Dior, Hermes and Loewe.

Other brands are racing to keep up, with several big-name designers booted out recently in the cut-throat race for profits.

Givenchy parted ways with menswear boss Matthew Williams this month. His replacement has yet to be announced.

Gucci, Chloe and Alexander McQueen all saw new creative directors last year.

There are few major changes in this week’s line-up, though Balmain is returning to menswear shows for the first time in several years.

Forty-two brands are holding runway shows during the menswear week, and another 32 organising presentations of their new collections.

The pace is relentless — After menswear comes the haute couture week in Paris for the most luxurious and bespoke outfits.

Having already been through Milan, the fashion caravan decamps after Paris for Miami, Copenhagen, New York and London, and then back to Milan and Paris for womenswear shows in February.