Skateboard P: A Style Icon?

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:


Angelicious said...

First off can I just start by saying "bravo!" apart from the last picture Pheobe - the belt looks a lil too tight and jeans are too light with the jacket for me :s

To a certain extent I totally agree that Pharrell (and to me Kanye also) have brought about a wave of more fashionably dressed hippety hoppers, a lot of my friends incuded. I am also getting on a bit so am old enough to remember the not so fashionable days.

But, when I think about it, at the time - for example the late 80s/early 90s when click suits were out, or the Cross Colours were all the rage and artists were wearing them, at THAT time that was fashionable and it filtered down to the likes of us. So in a way an artist will always be seen as a style icon if it means that their fans will wear what they are right?

But in this case, the likes of Pharrell have brought about a change to what the kids are wearing - and become more conscious in regards to image and high fashion, not necessarily being the first to be impressionable, if any of that makes sense?

Great post, I had a debate about this with my friend earlier hehe.

Anonymous said...

im gonna lower the tone. but plain and simple:

Booga said...

As far as merging high fashion and hip hop, I consider Pharrell to be long in the line of many. i'm not trying to detract from Pharrell's style influence, as I think that he's hella influential, just in a different way than stated. I remember designer sharkskin pants and sunglasses being sported when I was a snotnosed. I really can't think of a specific pioneer, but I remember (hip hop) heads doing it.
Talk about showing my age (all this was going on in the 80's).
There were also ppl like Basquiat with one foot in the hip hop world. He was known to paint in Armani suits, but he rocked them with those crazy locks of his. He would combine designer ish with punk and hip hop stuff, and just do him.
The thing that I credit Pharrell for is not being afraid to do some "white" shit. I remember seeing the Lapdance video for the first time, and buggin out because here was a Black dude with tats skateboarding. As a Black girl who skateboarded and drew tat designs in my classes (not yet 18), I was stoked... I can't even say how many sideways glances and snide remarks I'd get for this, so it was cool to see more Black folks outside the box.
I'm not trying to say he was the ONLY one, but he definately was one of the first known on a wider scale to be on that steez that a lot of Black folks seemed scared to touch. Before him it was just PWT rockin trucker hats, then it was all over the hood...and well, all things come full circle I suppose...

NO-BIZZI said...


Angelicious said...

what can I say - he's a great subject piece!

seeing as I start my final yr in Oct - u maybe onto something Biz ...... I wonder if I can change my disso title *scratches chin*

You do make a good point booga loog, I can remember when there was such a thing as dressing "white" or "black" don't hear that too much nowadays.

Booga said...

Haha. You know, I once took a job correcting papers for my friend who was an English professor. If only the thesis's were more like "why Pharrell is a style icon", I would've been able to stick with said job. On that note- angelicious- if your dissertation is on a subject matter even half as interesting, you should post.
All aside, anon is right. Dude IS fOine!

Simone said...

All I can say is..what an absolute beast! Cannot fault him!