Pharrell Williams is undoubtedly a man of many faces and talents. In his music career, he has released two solo studio albums, worked with some of the industry’s biggest stars and founded his own record label, Star Trak Entertainment. But music is not his only love. Undoubtedly, his heart is also stolen by the fashion industry. And with reciprocity, as he quite recently took over as CEO of the Louis Vuitton brand.
Table of Contents:
- Love of music
- First music contract
- Music producer
- Success at your fingertips
- “How to Steal the Moon”.
- For the love of fashion
- Adidas Stan Smith x Pharrell Williams
- The power of colors and patterns
- Human Race
- In search of inspiration
- Eco-friendly jeans
- Pharrell for Chanel
- The new face of fashion
- Louis Vuitton creative director
- A bold step
- Playing with fashion
Love of music
Pharrell was born on April 5, 1973 in Virginia. It wasn’t a typical American story, where he sang and acted from an early age with the hope of one day becoming a big star. As a teenager, he much preferred skateboarding and messing around with his friends. However, the seemingly innocent and petite boy (he is 175 cm tall) has always aroused interest and was everywhere. He first started playing instruments while in seventh grade. That’s when he joined his school band, where he played keyboards under the alias Skateboard P .
First music contract
He did not have to wait long for his first music contract. At a school talent competition in the early 1990s. producer Teddy Riley showed up and spotted the band The Neptunes, which included Williams. He immediately offered them to sign a contact. As a band, they have released one studio album, but have also produced background music for such stars as Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Shakira, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears since their inception. In 1999, they also teamed up with debut singer Kelis, who released her first album “Kaleidoskope” through them.
But Kelis is not the only one who owes his career to him. One of Britney ‘s biggest hits “I’m a Slave 4 U” was produced with his participation. The success of others encouraged him to release his own album. In 2000, he and his follow-up band N.E.R.D. (short for No-one ever really dies) released their debut album, “In Search of…,” which proved to be the ticket to a great career. Then more and more people became interested in working with him. He was recognized for this in 2004, when he received as many as two statuettes at the Grammy Awards gala.
Success at your fingertips
everyone knows the hits:„Drop It Like It’s Hot” Snoop Dogga or „Hot in Herre” Nelly’ego. Both owe their success to the very production of Pharrell Williams. So there was no doubt that his solo album would only be a matter of time. The album, which featured guest appearances by Gwen Stefani and Kanye West, was released in 2005.
“How to Steal the Moon”.
In 2010, he was offered the opportunity to compose the official soundtrack for Hans Zimmer ”How to Steal the Moon,” which featured the world Minions. The film turned out to be a huge hit, and as a result, just three years later its sequel “Minions” was released for which Pharrell Williams recorded his most famous hit “Happy.” The light, catchy number was also a preview of his second solo album, “Girl.” The song earned an Academy Award nomination as Best Original Song. It was played by all radio stations around the world. The music video for it was also unique. This is the first 24-hour music video in the world, which lasts evenly for 24 hours.
For the love of fashion
But music has never been the artist’s only love. Pharrell has distinguished himself over the years with his individual style. That’s why he quickly invested in two brands bearing his name: clothing company Billionaire Boys Club and footwear company Ice Cream. Other companies have also sensed the potential. In 2014, Japanese brand Uniqlo signed a contract with him to produce t-shirts bearing his name. And later that year, clothing and shoes from sportswear giant Adidas appeared on store shelves, which they created in collaboration with Williams.
Adidas Stan Smith x Pharrell Williams
First on the fire went the iconic Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes. Pharrell decorated them with cheerful daisies, lettering and scribbles, which were no doubt a reference to the “Happy” music video. The shoes signed with his name were to be exactly the same – to bring a smile to the face of the owner or owner’s face. But they were not shoes for everyone. The limited edition included only 10 pairs of collector’s shoes, which could be purchased for around 2,000 zlotys. In turn, all proceeds from their sale benefited the foundation established by Pharrell – From One Hand to AnOTHER.
The power of colors and patterns
The collection was a great success. That’s why the Adidas brand has entered into a permanent partnership with the artist. He then took to designing designing the Superstar model from the Supercolor collection They came out in all possible colors of the rainbow and were available to everyone at an affordable price. Everyone could choose the iconic shoes from Pharrell tailored to their tastes. Officials say as many as 15 million pairs have been sold. After shoes, it was the turn of clothes. The HU collection, clearly inspired by ethnic patterns, was the first to be released.
The idea for it came when Williams visited a Native American village in North Dakota. That’s how a new series of clothing and shoes signed with his name was created. The shoes additionally bore the words “Human Race,” signifying the human race. The collection included a brand new model of NMD shoes and sportswear: sports bras, sweatshirts and jackets. All in universal colors inspired by nature and Indian culture.
In search of inspiration
The clothes were sold out within hours of their release, prompting the brand to release another series. So Pharrell set off into the world in search of more inspiration, each of which was to have a reference in his next projects. For example, this is how Adidas’ “Pink Beach” collection was created, referring to the hippie style of the 1970s. Lots of colors, Hawaiian flower motifs and the now-famous 528HZ lettering are hallmarks of the collection. It featured bomber jackets, pleated skirts and short tops, as well as slip-ons, perfect for the beach.
But sportswear is not all in the artist’s oeuvre. After them, it was time to join forces with denim brand G Star Raw. He took his first steps there in 2014, when together they released eco-friendly jeans sewn from threads produced from plastic dredged from the ocean floor. Just two years later, he had already joined there as a co-owner. He had already become not only the face of the entire marketing campaign, but was also realistically able to develop the brand strategy.
Pharrell for Chanel
Subsequently, major fashion houses began courting him for collaborations. At first, no one could believe that Pharrell Williams could co-design for houses like Chanel, but he found his way there perfectly. The first were unique shoes produced with Adidas and Chanel, and signed with the artist’s name. Only 500 unique pairs were created. To get them, one had to queue up even several hours in advance. Today, the value of one pair is estimated to be as high as about $40,000.
The new face of fashion
Once again, shoes proved to be the ticket to great fashion. They launched Pharrell’s beautiful friendship with the Chanel fashion house. That’s how a streetwear unisex collection was created, combining the artist’s laid-back approach with French elegance. As usual, there was no shortage of strong and bold colors: pink, red, cornflower or green and seemingly incongruous combinations. Sporty leggings and tweed jackets thanks to Williams have become hallmarks of the Chanel x Pharrell Williams collection.
Louis Vuitton creative director
Thanks to him, Chanel clothes, previously inaccessible to mere mortals, reached a whole new audience. They were eagerly worn not only by celebrities known from the front pages of newspapers , but also by bloggers, influencers and people who simply love fashion. Not surprisingly, others also wanted to work with him. Just a few weeks ago, Louis Vuitton announced that Pharrell Williams had become the new creative director of the men’s line , replacing Virgil Abloh who had held the position for the past three years. It is also interesting to note that the men were friends, and Pharrell is well aware of what his predecessor was looking for in fashion.
A bold step
Both the artist’s fans and critics consider this a rather bold move on the part of the French fashion house. Until now, Louis Vuitton has been rather famous for its versatile cuts and colors. Pharrell can breathe a whole new life into the brand and make it more accessible. The show of his first collection has been announced for June 2024 during Paris Fashion Week. Undoubtedly, these will be completely innovative projects, as the artist is famous for his head full of ideas. He has already proved more than once that he can surprise his fans not only musically, but also in fashion.
Playing with fashion
The numerous collaborations for which Pharrell is famous have made him gain a growing fan base. Everyone is eagerly waiting to see what he will show us this time as well. As in music, so in fashion he is not afraid to combine seemingly incongruous elements. Everyone surely remembers when he wore a Chanel jacket from the women’s collection to one of his big outings in 2016, or when he paired a sporty hip-hop t-shirt with a string of white pearls. The editors of GentleWoman POLAND are definitely rooting for him and this project, so we look forward to more!