Pharrell Williams, the prolific genius

Editor’s note: This article was first published in the print edition of the Fall/Winter 2022-23 issue of Luxus+ magazine. Click here to view the full issue.

This talented artist, performer, songwriter, singer and designer needs no introduction. Born in Virginia, USA, in 1973, he quickly developed a passion for music. After forming a band, he went solo and became one of the most famous and influential musicians of his generation. He is more than a singer, he is a true all-rounder, capable of touching everything, with gold in his hands.


In the late 1980s, the golden age of pop and disco, Williams met Chad Hugo. Years later, they formed the band The Neptunes. And if their songs don’t go as far as the eponymous planet, they prove to be very talented when it comes to composition! Some time later, the duo set up their own production company, also called The Neptunes, and Pharrell quickly became a must-have artist that stars could not do without. Together with Chad Hugo, they wrote music for international stars such as Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Sean Paul and Snoop Dog.


Success came knocking at his door and in 2006, he decided to try his luck and went solo with his first album “In my mind”. And that mind turns out to be rich in meaning and words. In an interview with Pirelli. com, he talks about his creative process, which is as impressive as it is ordinary: “I get inspired by everything. Usually it starts with a feeling or impression that puts me in a good mood or humour. It can be just a word or an image that makes me think of something and it goes from there.”


© Jacob & Co


In the 2000s, The Neptunes were responsible for 43% of the songs played on the radio! Later on, songs like “Happy”, “Get lucky” or “Lose your chance to dance” stayed in the top 10 sales and listening charts for many months. And they are still timeless today. The luck is definitely there. What makes Pharrell happy are his choices, what he has achieved, his work, but also his family. Married to fashion designer Helen Lasichanh since 2013, they have had four children, including triplets. His first son named Rocket, in homage to the singer with a thousand outfits, each more extravagant than the last: Elton John. “It’s a personal way of paying homage to Elton John’s Rocket Man and Herbie Hancock’s Rocket: they are two of my favourite musicians of all time,” confides Pharrell.


A fashion icon


In addition to his hit songs, Pharrell is also known for his clothing style. He is fashion forward from head to toe. The hat quickly became his signature. He pays particular attention to jewellery. Very witty and moody, he doesn’t buy for the sake of buying: “I don’t love jewellery for what it represents. I love them for what they express”. On the strength of his many collaborations, Williams befriended the jewellery house Jacob & Co. They soon became creative partners. Jacob Arabo, the brand’s CEO, says: “There’s something unique about Pharrell: he’s talented. He has this gift of ideas, design and style.


© Jacob & Co


Other renowned collaborations have made him a fashion victim and a renowned designer. Notably with Nigo, creator of the streetwear brand A Bathing Ape. In 2003, the two men joined forces to create Billionaires Boys Club, a brand of luxury urban clothing and accessories that quickly became a must-have and was worn by the biggest rappers. Since then, the fashion collaborations have not stopped. The businessman has worked with Moncler, Adidas, Uniqlo and Chanel, with whom he designed a pair of sneakers. More than an artist or designer, he is the embodiment of freshness and style. Concerned about the world around him, in 2014 he associated his textile company Bionic Yarn with the brand G star Raw for a capsule collection RAW for the oceans. A denim line made from recycled plastic found in the ocean. The project was even presented at the American Museum of Natural History in New York some time later.


Awards that have a price


Having won the Grammy Awards for Producer of the Year and Best Rap Song for his hit “Money Maker”, the awards are not the same. With his ubiquitous fashion background, he was named one of the best-dressed artists of the year by Esquire magazine in 2005. Ten years later, he was awarded the Fashion Icon Award by the Council of American Fashion Designers at the Fashion Awards. Diane von Fürstenberg, a leading fashion designer and president of the organisation, said that Pharrell won the award “not only for his way of being and his sense of style, but also for his kindness and openness”.


From music to fashion to catering


Music and cuisine are a powerful combination. It began with a friendship between French chef Jean Imbert and Williams. Very quickly, many projects blossomed in their minds and in 2018, they opened their first restaurant in Miami “Swan”: “It all started with a simple sentence from Pharrell who suggested I open a restaurant. And because it’s crazy, of course, I said yes! He came several times to my place in Paris to discover the vegetable garden I have on the roof. We often talked about ecology and good products, and then the idea of the restaurant came up,” explained Jean Imbert at the time.


© Presse / Jean Imbert et Pharrell Williams


And as good news never comes alone, two years later, they put down their suitcase or rather their utensils on the French Riviera, in the favourite village of the stars: Saint Tropez. Together they opened a second restaurant, aptly named “To Share”. In an intimate Mediterranean setting, the two young men combine a taste for cuisine and design to create a temple of good taste, literally and figuratively.


There is no stopping Pharrell Williams. Between musical, artistic, fashion and culinary partnerships, one is lost. Recently, the artist also revealed in an interview with Rolling Stone that he had secretly collaborated with the K-pop group BTS. More than just a name, he has created a singular universe of creativity and relentless innovation. If you had to choose one word to describe him: inspiration…





Featured photo : © Press

Apolline Prulhiere est une jeune journaliste en herbe. Elle se passionne notamment pour la mode et la culture, et s'est récemment découvert un intérêt certain pour l'automobile. Sa plume enjouée se caractérise d'une grande richesse lexique, d'un ton direct et spontané. Son glossaire précis élimine l'incertitude.


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