Louis Vuitton kicks off fashion week with diplomatic style


Paris fashion Week kicked off on Tuesday with hip-hop mogul Pharrell Williams putting on his latest branding event for Louis Vuitton at the UNESCO headquarters.

Williams took over the historic Pont Neuf bridge for his lavish debut as creative director a year ago.

He changed styles for his follow-up in January, with an ode to Americana that looked like a carefully staged tie-in with Beyonce's new cowboy-themed album.

For his latest, the "Happy" singer is taking over the home of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, a symbol of international diplomacy in Paris.

Under the theme of "The World is Yours", a teaser on Instagram featured children as diplomats being encouraged to work for a more unified world -- with Vuitton-branded briefcases, naturally.

The label's parent company, LVMH, announced a strengthening of its partnership with UNESCO on environmental projects in April.

That cannot come too soon for campaigners.

Louis Vuitton, the world's most profitable fashion brand, scored just 29 out of 100 in the most recent Fashion Transparency Index by Fashion Revolution, which monitors areas such as environmental impact and labour rights.

It scored just one out of 100 for "supply chain traceability", referring to its openness about how and where its products are made.

Williams has a busy supply chain of his own since he is also preparing the release of a Lego biopic of his life and contributed a song to the soundtrack of "Despicable Me 4".

This week is devoted to menswear in Paris, followed immediately by the haute couture shows until June 27.

It offers some light relief to the city, currently in turmoil over snap elections called by President Emmanuel Macron after a surge by the far right in European polls, as well as preparations for next month's Olympic Games.

The Games have brought fashion week forward from July, forcing some houses to abandon this season, including Balmain, Valentino and Givenchy.

A key highlight for fashionistas will be Vogue World, a mega-party organised by the magazine on Sunday, bringing together the doubly lucrative worlds of sports and luxury clothes.

The industry is also preparing to say farewell to one of its most lauded designers, Belgium's Dries Van Noten, who is retiring after his show on Saturday.



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