A Timeline of the Creative Directors at Louis Vuitton

From Marc Jacobs to Pharrell Williams

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Louis Vuitton. Founded circa 1854 in Paris by Louis Vuitton, the company is recognized as one of the biggest designer brands on the globe, one of the most expensive clothing brands in the world, and has a huge following and reputation as one of the most recognizable name sakes in the fashion industry. They worked with the biggest names in the business (Rihanna and LeBron James are a couple of the most recent), have put on a number of iconic fashion shows, and have employed the services of many elite creative directors since first adding that position to the company in 1997 with Marc Jacobs. Since we're on the topic of creative directors, we thought it would be cool to do a deep dive into the timeline of the creative directors at Louis Vuitton as a bit of a fashion history lesson.

Currently, Pharrell Williams leads the creative direction (a hiring that was announced in June 2023) of the brand, and while as of this writing it hasn't even been a full year since he began his first day of work, it's clear already that Williams is creating a movement and leading Louis V in a direction previously unseen. To get to the present, however, we've got to back it up a bit to the late 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and early 2020s. Let's take a look back at everyone who has ever led the way at Louis Vuitton.

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1. Marc Jacobs

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  • Years as CD: 1997 - 2013
  • Notable shows: 1998 Fall Ready-to-Wear Collection, Spring Ready-to-Wear 2006, Spring/Summer 2009, Spring Summer 2014

First up is Marc Jacobs, who's background in the fashion industry was extensive before joining Louis Vuitton in 1997. The accomplishment for Jacob start in the late 1980s when he first began gaining notoriety as a designer. The youngest person to ever receive the Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent from the CFDA in 1987, the designer started his career as a Creative Director/Vice President for the women's design unit of Perry Ellis in 1988 where he remained for five years. Jacobs' exit from the company was a rather notable one as he designed the infamous Perry Ellis "Grunge Collection" that drew positive reviews, but less than stellar profit.

The commercial failure of the collection led to his departing from Perry Ellis, but the road block turned into a path of allowing him to start his own line in 1993. Four years later Jacobs' took on the role as the first Creative Director for Louis Vuitton where he introduced ready-to-wear clothing into the brand and upped its popularity by working with notable names such as Takashi Murakami and Kanye West. Jacobs tenure with Louis Vuitton lasted from 1997 to 2014 (yes Jacobs was the Louis Vuitton creative director in 2011 as well, which means he oversaw and worked with Kim Jones too), when he announced his departure to pursue other endeavors.

2. Nicolas Ghesquiere

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  • Years as CD: 2013 - present
  • Notable shows: SS24 Show, FW22, FW14 at the Louvre

Next up is Nicolas Ghesquiere, who needless to say has some pretty big shoes to fill after Marc Jacobs left the company. More than a decade after his arrival, it's safe to say Ghesquiere filled the shoes beautifully as he remains the women's Creative Director for Louis V—a role he's had since 2013. Prior to joining the company, the French Fashion designer started his career working as a fashion assistant to Jean Paul Gaultier. In 1997, the then 25-year-old joined Balenciaga, eventually becoming a Creative Director for the brand. Becoming known for his prints, patterns, and contrast methods, Ghesquiere's known continued to rise in the early 2000s as he created the Lariat bag aka the Motorcycle Bag, which was pretty much the Y2K version of a fashion item going viral.

After fifteen years at Balenciaga, Ghesquiere announced he was leaving the company, joining Louis Vuitton as its creative director one year later. It's here that Ghesquiere has taken his trademark contrasting and bold pops to an elevated level, and both the designer and Louis Vuitton seem committed to stay together even longer as the brand signed Ghesquiere for another five years back in November 2023.

3. Virgil Abloh

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  • Years as CD: 2018 - 2021
  • Notable shows: SS19, SS22, FW21

Now we arrive to the late great legendary Virgil Abloh, the Louis Vuitton creative director before Pharrell. Joining the brand in May 2018, Abloh was somebody who had his hands in a number of different pots from a creative standpoint as he started in architecture (which he got his degree in), but was also still heavily involved in the fashion world. As fate would have it, Abloh became close to Ye (Kanye West) while interning at Fendi, and the two would develop a working relationship that eventually resulted in Abloh teaming up with Ye's artistic partner Don C to launch the RSVP Gallery in Chicago. After several years of developing a reputable name for himself in the fashion space, Abloh launched the esteemed streetwear brand Off-White, which further increased his demand and popularity.

Fast forward five years later, Abloh becomes the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton, where he was the first person of African descent to the lead the line. Thanks to Abloh's connections and great relationships in the entertainment industry, Abloh was able to recruit/work with many of Hollywood's finest including Rihanna, Serena Williams, Kid Cudi and plenty of others. Abloh's time at Louis Vuitton may have unfortunately been short, but it provided a major impact that will always be remembered.

4. Pharrell Williams

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  • Years as CD: 2023 - present
  • Notable shows: FW24/25, SS24

A renaissance man to the fullest, the title of Louis Vuitton's Creative Director is just another addition to his legendary resume. First making his way into the entertainment industry as a music producer in the early 1990s, Williams rose to fame as one-half of The Neptunes (who have worked with just about every notable music act you can think of including the likes of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z). Williams then started a solo career of his own with 2003's "Frontin,'" and released his debut album In My Mind in 2006. While Williams' musical accomplishments are endless, fashion is always something that's been a huge part of his career, creating his streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club in 2003.

In 2014, Williams signed a deal with adidas, making it the first time the brand had ever partnered with anybody who owned their own textile company. February 2023 marked the official announcement of Williams joining Louis Vuitton as their Creative Director, and while we are still very early into his tenure with the company, it's already been quite fun to see the direction he's taking the brand as the collections have been visual masterpieces. The designer has also already recruited some famous names like Rihanna and LeBron James as ambassadors for the company, which means it's going to be a cool future ahead for LV.

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