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May 15, 2024

What is Pharrell Williams most famous for? Fashion over music

In the fashion industry, where creativity intersects with marketing and trends evolve rapidly, only a select few seem to have the transformative power to shape the landscape. Are we simply alluding to fashion designers? Such a narrow categorisation would undermine the influence of hype-driven geniuses who originate and thrive in diverse industries, poised to leverage their hit-making prowess in the luxury sector. One such person is Pharrell Williams, a contemporary polymath whose influence extends beyond music, making a lasting impact on the fashion world.

From his early days as a chart-topping musician to his current status as a cultural icon, Pharrell Williams has seamlessly integrated into the fashion world, redefining what it means to be a style icon. His impact can be felt across various areas of the industry, from streetwear to high fashion, as he continues to push boundaries and challenge conventions.

Williams’ innate sense of style and a penchant for experimentation lie at the heart of his influence. He effortlessly blends streetwear staples with haute couture, creating a distinctive aesthetic that resonates globally, even among younger generations. Whether he’s dressed in a sharp suit on the red carpet, donning a bold street style outfit, or wearing diamond-rimmed sunglasses at Kenzo’s fall 2022 show in Paris (where he teased his new design project with Tiffany & Co.), Pharrell Williams’ fashion choices consistently grab attention and inspire admiration.

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Un post condiviso da KENZO (@kenzo)

Pharrell Williams is well-known for collaborating with various brands and designers in the fashion industry. Even when his primary focus was still music (or at least that’s what we believed), he partnered with iconic names such as Adidas and G-Star Raw, as well as luxury giants like Chanel and iconic labels like Moncler, leading to innovative collections that seamlessly blended his distinctive vision with each brand’s ethos. These collaborations frequently sold out within minutes, demonstrating Pharrell Williams’ ability to generate consumer demand and shape purchasing trends.

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Un post condiviso da Moncler (@moncler)

Expanding beyond collaborations, Pharrell Williams has also established himself as a fashion entrepreneur. His clothing lines, notably Billionaire Boys Club and its sublabel Ice Cream, in collaboration with Nigo, have achieved cult status among streetwear enthusiasts. Well-known for their daring graphics and forward-thinking designs, these labels have played a significant role in highlighting Pharrell Williams’ entrepreneurial spirit, establishing him as a major contender in the fashion industry. It was apparent from the start that Williams’ influence would extend far beyond his musical career, leading him to build a brand empire of his own.

And he continues to do so in his new role, as the pop star is also the creative director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear. The collections he creates aim to be an ode to “appreciation, not appropriation,” as he stated backstage at his latest show for the LVMH-owned brand.

The show was centred around creative exchanges with members of the Dakota and Lakota Native American tribes. For this runway, as well as his previous catwalk debut at Vuitton, Williams has demonstrated how to seamlessly blend streetwear and deluxe elegance with great success, particularly appealing to Generation Z customers.

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Un post condiviso da Louis Vuitton (@louisvuitton)

It’s no wonder that Tiffany & Co. partnered with him to create a unique jewellery collection called the “Tiffany Titan.” “I feel like it’s been a long time coming,” Williams remarked on this collaboration. It’s almost an understatement, as Williams and his style have become an integral part of Tiffany’s cultural identity. The jewellery house is famous for crafting iconic 18-karat gold sunglasses adorned with 61 diamonds plus two emerald-cut emeralds. The first time he was spotted wearing them at Nigo’s Kenzo front row, he told WWD: “Tiffany and I are engaged; the sunglasses are the first of many things that I’m gonna do with Tiffany.” And true to his word, both parties have delivered on their commitment.

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Un post condiviso da Tiffany & Co. (@tiffanyandco)

“Once LVMH got involved, and once Alex [Alexandre Arnault, Tiffany’s 31-year-old EVP of product, communications, and industrial, recently appointed to the LVMH board alongside his brother Frédéric, 29], who I’ve known for almost two decades, got involved and saw that his whole thing was to reimagine it, I jumped at the opportunity of partnering and collaborating,” explained Williams.

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Un post condiviso da Simonsaysdrip (@simonsaysdrip)

And yet, despite his deep connection to the brand, Williams didn’t self-reference. “I find inspiration in things that don’t exist, and if they do exist, I use them in a completely different way,” he explained. For his collection with Tiffany & Co., he delved into mythology, drawing inspiration from both his personal experiences and Greek legends. He started with a playful nod to his hometown, Atlantis, located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, which sparked his fascination with the lost utopian civilisation described by Plato and their king, Poseidon. “I have always been obsessed with water and Poseidon, so many of the jewels are inspired by the trident of the Greek god of the oceans,” Pharrell Williams concluded.



Angelo Ruggeri
Journalist, Master’s Programme Tutor & Fashion Styling Course Leader, Milan