Regular readers of Hypebeast may have already seen this video, which the site posted a link to yesterday. In it, the uber-stylish Pharrell Williams briefly discusses his 'connoisseur' status and attributes his love of luxury goods to a less than privileged childhood.
If you watch the video you'll hear Pharrell name drop labels including Prada, Helmut Lang and Gucci...which got me thinking about the undeniably immense impact he has had on hip hop culture, and particularly its recent merging with 'high' fashion.
Maybe I'm showing my age here, but I personally can't think of a hip hop artist before Pharrell who demonstrated such a high level of personal style, or such an appreciation of really well-designed menswear. Nowadays every other dude on Concreteloop.com is rocking a Jil Sanders shirt, a pair of Dior Homme jeans or some extortionately priced Lanvin sneakers. But was this the case in the pre-Pharrell era? Clothing and style has always played a massive part in the culture- that much is undeniable- but what I'm talking about here is Rihanna walking the runway for DSquared2, Kanye West posting blogs on Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld, Williams himself as a Louis Vuitton posterboy.
To me, it seems like the whole 'Hip Hop Luxe' look that is so hot right now can be mostly claimed by Pharrell (or his stylist!) Of course, Kanye now seems to have taken over as the preeminent trend-setter in this world, but let's not forget that when he first launched his career dude was wearing bright orange v-neck jumpers and rugby shirts. That's not to say the man has no style- his recent fashion choices show that he certainly knows his stuff- but just that perhaps it was Pharrell who made it OK for hip hop artists to dress this way and be applauded for it, rather than just being called gay.
Perhaps I'm over playing Mr Williams' influence....What say ye, readers?
On a final note (and purely for my own personal gratification) a few of my favourite Pharrell fashion moments: