Few musicians have as much fashion cred as Pharrell. Aside from his own design pursuits, his street-kid-meets-couture brand of styling epitomized by his Adidas track jacket and archival Vivienne Westwood hat at the 2014 Grammy Awards, or his Chanel suit with Adidas kicks at the 2015 ceremony, has fueled a cottage industry of imitators across every market, from high fashion to street-side knockoffs.
Getting him to confess the designers, people, and places that inform his sense of style is no easy task, but after a bit of prodding he opened up. “I have brands that I love, but I mostly people watch,” he told Style.com. (May the record show he was wearing a bucket hat, round sunglasses, an embroidered bomber jacket over a Human Made tee, Adidas jeans with a Chanel belt, and custom Adidas Superstars, and when we suggested that he’s a style icon he smiled, looked in the mirror, and said, “I’m like, uh…”) “I get my style from just random people, everyday people, like, construction is interesting to me. Everyday things, you know, service uniforms, sports, skateboarding, normcore, grandma sweaters, all of that stuff is interesting to me.”
Also interesting: bellhop uniforms. Working with Karl Lagerfeld on the Chanel Salzburg collection seemed to be especially inspiring. “Only a brand that is as fine-minded as Chanel can withstand such things happening to their own ideas, their original ideas,” he began. “If it’s good, it can stand on its own in any iteration, and Chanel’s one of those brands—always good. Chanel, Comme Des Garçons, Lanvin, Nigo’s Human Made, and Adidas—man, they’ve been great. And I’ve also had a really wonderful experience with Moncler as well. All of those brands, man, are just top of the top, best of the best, and they’ve given us the opportunity to do things with them. I’m grateful for the experience because I look up to the work that comes out of those brands.”
Pharrell’s latest project finds him collaborating with Adidas on two variations of its Superstar style. The first drop—a hand-beaded version retailing at $200—will likely be the most limited sneaker release of the year, with only a number in the double digits produced. (The brand asked us not to reveal which number, so let’s just say it’s closer to 10 than it is to 100…) The other drop is for everyone: Superstars in 50 different colors, coming out this March. “[Adidas] said yes to my crazy idea to do them in 50 colors…that was very exciting to me,” Pharrell explained. “Because listening to Run-DMC make one of the illest records of the time called My Adidas—that’s historical. You know DMC is on the inside right now,” he said in reference to the Adidas event he’d just departed. “It doesn’t get any cooler than that.”