Pharrell on his movie Atlantis, aesthetics and new sneakers in a Chanel podcast in Colette
“Our society is choking with aesthetics. Everything today is about the way things look; but rarely do people take the time to figure what things mean. Humanity has come to come back to the idea that symbolism is important. It’s like on cell phones the way we use emojis. They go all the way back to hieroglyphics as symbols actually have meaning,” opined Pharrell Williams in the latest podcast organized by Chanel during its month-long residency in Colette.
The event also highlighted a limited-edition, black-and-white techy-textile sneaker, 'Adidas Originals = Pharrell Williams HU NMD', just 500 pairs retailing at a cool €1,000 in the store, which is due to close down after 20 years next month.
Pharrell’s next big project is a film musical based on his own childhood in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
“It is about the audacity of dreaming, and will be about my old neighborhood. A lot like most housing projects. There will be lots of kids, lots of music, where the creativity is bubbling over. Boundless imagination. It was called Atlantis but was very different to the Atlantis in the ocean. There was just one way in and one way out of our neighborhood. The real Atlantis had many ways in and out, and it flourished,” said Williams.
The discussion was one of a series of November podcasts, moderated by the noted French fashion culture journalist Daphné Hezard, that included talks with Clémence Poésy, Céline Sallette, Leïla Slimani and Sébastien Tellier. Part of the animation and infotainment provided by Chanel during their one-month on Colette’s upper floor.
“I am happiest creating in Miami, Tokyo and Paris. And more creative in the morning. I create best on an empty stomach. Food just weighs me down,” said Williams, who revealed to Hézard how he prepared for performing. “Before we go on stage we pray - all my band.”
“I don’t I have rules until friends point them out to me. There is a healthy dose of illusion in any artist. Because if you don’t believe it then it doesn’t feel real,” he added.
A line stretched half way down the block for Williams, an old Chanel hand who recently appeared in a campaign for the house’s Gabrielle bag, where he walked acrobatically along a crane inside a film studio. His relationship dates back to doing the ad campaign for the Métiers d’Art staged in Salzburg in 2014, where he sang a duet with Cara Delevingne.
“I used to notice the double CC as a kid, and then remember buying my first Chanel belt. And when Adidas and Chanel agreed to do the sneaker – I could not believe they said yes. But it is always important to only work with masters,” smiled Williams, dressed in a pink Human Made sweatshirt; baseball cap reading Plant, over hair dyed bright orange, and his own new €1,000 sneakers.
Asked whether there was anyone from the past he wished he had worked with, he replied, after a long pregnant pause: “Hendrix!”
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