He may just be the biggest name in music right now and W Magazine came up with a pretty cool idea to pay homage to Mr Williams while celebrating the arts in their annual special issue. The cover of the new release features Pharrell’s mug photographed by Joshua White and then interpreted by Urs Fischer, in an unusual and very pop contemporary image. Some fans are saying “What in fresh hell is that” but nobody can deny it is an intriguing and interesting cover move. Open up the issue and you’ll find four more top artists giving Pharrell a spin including Alex Katz, Rob Pruitt, Mr. and JR. Below is an excerpt from the feature, you can go here to see the whole thing. What are your thoughts on it?
On January 26, at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, Pharrell Williams, who has been a musical sensation for most of his 41 years, had one of those rare nights that are life-changing. He won four Grammys, including Producer of the Year, but the awards were not the only reason that the evening—maybe even the year—belonged to Pharrell. Not only is he the cowriter of “Get Lucky,” by Daft Punk, and Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”—songs that have madly addictive hooks that circle round and round in your head without end—but he also has unique personal flair that pops on TV and across the Internet. Williams, who has the ageless, slightly mysterious look of an Egyptian cat, with slanted almond-shaped eyes and sculpted features, seemed to know that his serious beauty needed a dollop of fun. At the Grammys he was dressed in jeans, a red leather Adidas Firebird jacket tailored to hug his narrow frame, and, as always, a custom-made tangle of necklaces—costume Chanel chains that he had recast in gold with jade and large freshwater pearls in place of the fake gems. On Williams’s head was the final quirk: a brown felt, artfully dented Dudley Do-Right hat, designed by Vivienne Westwood in 1982. It was stately, arresting, and a little goofy—a perfect crown for the Pharrell coronation. The hat, which instantly became synonymous with its wearer and has rarely left his head since that night, was something else too—a visual reminder of Williams’s philosophy of music, style, and life: Respect the past, but mix it up to create something both subtly familiar and new.
Since his youth in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where he was a prodigy on the drums, Williams has had great instincts and fearless curiosity. He has a knack for spotting talent (he singled out Justin Timberlake as a solo phenom when Timberlake was still committed to being in a boy band) and for picking up on the catchiness of a gospel chord progression (as heard in his infectious record-breaking No. 1 hit “Happy”). He is also a fashion savant, deftly able to fuse ’80s B-boy, old-school preppy, and avant-garde Japanese sensibilities in his clothing line, Billionaire Boys Club (BBC); and a major art collector—with tastes that range from the graffiti artist KAWS to Takashi Murakami. With Williams, the goal is always classic with a kick, a look or sound that you’ll subconsciously recall combined with something invented that you won’t be able to forget.
It’s a strange thing about the hat,” Williams told me three months after the Grammys, as he was waiting to rehearse “Happy” for an appearance on Saturday Night Live. It was 11:30 a.m. on a Thursday in early April, and Williams and his nearly all-female team (publicist, creative director, personal assistant, choreographer), along with his striking wife, the model Helen Lasichanh, were sitting in a tight cluster of chairs facing the stage at an NBC studio in Rockefeller Center. Williams, who was wearing a gray hoodie with billionaire boys club written in script across the front, his usual chains, loose jeans, and a forest green version of the Westwood hat, had arrived late the night before from Los Angeles, where he attended the annual star-studded Museum of Contemporary Art gala. At the event, a zillionaire named Vivi Nevo had the audacity to wear the Westwood hat, too. “People didn’t like anyone else in Pharrell’s hat,” Lasichanh said, sounding somewhat amused. “People were upset. All night I kept hearing, ‘Why is someone wearing Pharrell’s hat?!’ ”