Pharrell Williams shares thoughts on fashion and design in new book – WWD

Pharrell Williams sees the human body as “a canvas” for self-expression; he is very interested in jewelry and has long since stopped caring what others thought of his fashion choices.

These are just some of the insights to be gleaned from “Pharrell-isms,” a new 168-page book due out May 2 from Princeton University Press that compiles a series of Williams’ bon mots, most of them delivered in interviews and speeches. within the last decade.

An entire chapter devoted to fashion and design provides clues as to how Louis Vuitton’s new men’s creative director might approach his debut show during Paris Fashion Week, scheduled for June 20-25.

In 2012, having previously signed two collaborations with Vuitton, he extolled how the French brand “takes a regal approach to designing their products, and they love it.”

A self-described “nerdy kid on a skateboard,” Williams confessed that he didn’t understand high-end fashion at first, but then realized that “it’s cool. And while there’s mostly a perception that it’s for women, I’ve just started to see, OK, as a man I can wear some of this. So I’d wear sunglasses here, a jacket there.

New York art collector and publisher Larry Warsh edited Williams’ book, which comes less than three years after Princeton University Press released “Abloh-isms,” dedicated to the late Virgil Abloh and Williams’ predecessor in men’s department of Vuitton.

The cover of the new book, out May 2 by Princeton University Press.

In the introduction, Warsh explains what a fashion innovator the “Happy” singer was.

“Pharrell encouraged and embodied a rethinking of traditional masculinity, reflected in part in his unabashed embrace of luxury and fashion,” Warsh writes. “It is also evident in the intricate ways in which, in matters of personal clothing, he plays with colour, shape and texture.

“Pharrell’s ability to combine historic styles with his freer, more improvisational take on menswear has encouraged new approaches to men’s self-presentation, both individually and within the industry.”

According to Warsh, a “sense of uplift and unconventional thinking” extends to Williams’ work across music, art, fashion and design. “In all areas, Pharrell’s work is defined by openness and a collaborative spirit.”

Like Abloh, who has extolled black creativity in his role at the world’s largest luxury goods brand, Williams is unequivocal about how important African Americans are to culture at large.

They are “the influence for music. We are the influencer for sneakers. We are the influence for art. We are the influence for the lingo. We are the influence for sound. We are the influence for dance. We are the influence for our taste buds. But the problem with all of that: We don’t own most of them. We are not the owners.”

The chapter notes that her fashion and design idols include the “complete genius” Rei Kawakubo, the late Iranian architect Zaha Hadid, the late Karl Lagerfeld, mid-century furniture gurus Charles and Ray Eames, Yohji Yamamoto, Junya Watanabe and Nigo, creative director of Kenzo and its co-founder of the streetwear brand Billionaire Boys Club.

Nigo is the subject of several isms, and it was love at first sight.

“I recognized what he was doing as something I’ve felt my whole life,” Williams says. “The most memorable thing for me is the culture that Nigo introduced me to. I learned many things that are relevant to who I am today. I met someone who believed in me and introduced me to new art, design, fashion, food”.

Yet “necessity is the biggest inspiration for me,” she says. “The only thing I can do is just bring my gut, what I feel, and be super sincere and artistic. Whether they are my sketches, or notes, intuitions, instincts, [I just try to] be as vivid as possible.

The book’s release comes about a month after Williams celebrated his 50th birthday. Other chapters are devoted to music business, family life, partnerships, education, social justice, inspirations, art and creativity.

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