Pharrell Williams Kicks Off Paris Fashion Week with Louis Vuitton Show

A model presents a creation for the Spring/Summer 2025 Menswear Collection by the US designer Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton fashion house during the Paris Men's Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 18 June 2024. EPA/ANDRE PAIN
A model presents a creation for the Spring/Summer 2025 Menswear Collection by the US designer Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton fashion house during the Paris Men's Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 18 June 2024. EPA/ANDRE PAIN
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Pharrell Williams Kicks Off Paris Fashion Week with Louis Vuitton Show

A model presents a creation for the Spring/Summer 2025 Menswear Collection by the US designer Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton fashion house during the Paris Men's Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 18 June 2024. EPA/ANDRE PAIN
A model presents a creation for the Spring/Summer 2025 Menswear Collection by the US designer Pharrell Williams for Louis Vuitton fashion house during the Paris Men's Fashion Week, in Paris, France, 18 June 2024. EPA/ANDRE PAIN

Louis Vuitton men's creative director Pharrell Williams took to an outdoor, turf-lined runway at UNESCO headquarters on Tuesday, opening Paris Fashion week with an evening show.

The world's biggest fashion label, known for its checked damier patterns and monogrammed trunks, drew on a travel theme for the spring summer 2025 men's collection, with a towering globe sculpture, rows of international flags and -- in the distance -- the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, Reuters reported.

Models strode down the grass catwalk in crisply-tailored suits, slick bomber jackets and fur coats, with rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses and chunky, airplane-wing brooches, while an orchestra and choir performed music produced by Williams.

The LVMH-owned label drew an audience of 1,500, as well as screaming crowds on the street outside, angling to catch arrivals of celebrity guests, who included NBA basketball player Victor Wembanyama, actor Michael Fassbender and K-pop star Jackson Wang.

The Paris men's fashion shows, which will be followed by Haute Couture week, come as France gears up for the summer Olympics, as well as two rounds of elections in the coming weeks, which have thrown the country into political disarray.

Globally, high end labels face waning appetite for fashion and accessories, with the key Chinese market a particular source of concern.



80-year-old LL Bean Staple Finds New Audience as Trendy Bag

Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
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80-year-old LL Bean Staple Finds New Audience as Trendy Bag

Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)
Gracie Wiener poses with some of her tote bags in Washington Square Park in New York, Wednesday, July 17, 2024, (AP Photo/Pamela Smith)

L.L. Bean created it 80 years ago to haul heavy blocks of ice. Now it's a must-have summer fashion accessory, The Associated Press reported.

The simple, sturdy canvas bag called the Boat and Tote is having an extended moment 80 years after its introduction, thanks to a social media trend in which they're monogrammed with ironic or flashy phrases.

New Yorker Gracie Wiener helped get it started by ordering her humble bags from L.L. Bean monogrammed with “Psycho” and then “Prada,” the pricey Italian luxury brand, instead of just her name or initials, and posting about them on Instagram. Then others began showcasing their own unique bags on TikTok.

Soon, it wasn’t enough to have a bag monogrammed with “Schlepper,” “HOT MESS,” “slayyyy” or “cool mom.” Customers began testing the limits of the human censors in L.L. Bean’s monogram department, which bans profanity “or other objectionable words or phrases,” with more provocative wording like “Bite me,” “Dum Blonde” and “Ambitchous.”

Social media fueled the surge, just as it did for Stanley’s tumblers and Trader Joe’s $2.99 canvas bags, which were once selling on eBay for $200, said Beth Goldstein, an analyst at Circana, which tracks consumer spending and trends.
The tote’s revival came at a time when price-conscious consumers were forgoing expensive handbags, sales of which have weakened, and L.L. Bean’s bag fit the bill as a functional item that’s trendy precisely because it’s not trendy, she said. L.L. Bean's regular bags top out at about $55, though some fancier versions cost upward of $100.
“There’s a trend toward the utilitarian, the simple things and more accessible price points,” she said, and the customization added to the appeal: “Status items don’t have to be designer price points.”

L.L. Bean’s tote was first advertised in a catalog as Bean’s Ice Carrier in 1944 during World War II, when ice chests were common. Then they disappeared before being reintroduced in 1965 as the Boat and Tote.

These days, they’re still made in Maine and are still capable of hauling 500 pounds of ice, but they are far more likely to carry laptops, headphones, groceries, books, beach gear, travel essentials and other common items.

Those snarky, pop-oriented phrases transformed them into a sassy essential and helped them spread beyond Maine, Massachusetts’ Cape Cod and other New England enclaves to places like Los Angeles and New York City, where fashionistas like Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Jessica Parker are toting them — but not necessarily brandished with ironic phrases.

“It’s just one of those things that makes people smile and makes people laugh, and it’s unexpected,” said Wiener, who got it all started with her @ironicboatandtote Instagram page, which she started as a fun side hustle from her job as social media manager for Air Mail, a digital publication launched by former Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Graydon Carter.

The folks at L.L. Bean were both stunned and pleased by the continuing growth. For the past two years, the Boat and Tote has been L.L. Bean’s No. 1 contributor to luring in new customers, and sales grew 64% from fiscal years 2021 to 2023, spokesperson Amanda Hannah said.

The surge in popularity is reminiscent of L.L. Bean’s traditional hunting shoe, the iconic staple for trudging through rain and muck, which enjoyed its own moment a few years back, driven by college students.