Gender Fluidity On Full Display In Chanel x Pharrell Collab With Williams As Earth Mother

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Women Management models Anna Ewers, Ophelie Guillermand and Soo Joo Park are part of the globally-released Chanel x Pharrell  collab that made its debut in South Korea at the opening of Chanel’s first flagship boutique in the country.

Pharrell Williams covered the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar Korea, photographed by Frederike Helwig, with an oversized, green cloth tote embellished with colorful and instantly recognizable Chanel-themed patches.

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Pharrell has a long history of working with the Chanel brand, becoming a close friend of Karl Lagerfeld.

The American music talent, rapper, singer, songwriter, Williams joins Chad Hugo in The Neptunes, producing jip hop and R&B music. This multitude of talents are on full-display in the behind-the-scenes campaign video narrated by Williams and an assortment of models. In his own words: “Hard to believe this all started with writing it on my shoes in 2010.” #CHANNELPHARRELL

“Hard to believe this all started with writing it on my shoes in 2010.”

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The capsule line consists of some 40 references, including 10 pieces of ready-to-wear that include short and long robes, color-blocked T-shirts, as well as costume jewelry, sneakers, loafers, mules, sunglasses, hip packs and oversize shoppers.

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Campaign Film

The film was shot after Pharrell walked Chanel’s 2018 Métiers d’Art show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Egyptian Temple of Dendur. Speaking about his own fashion style, Pharrell says, “I don’t have a style as much as I have tendencies. I find a silhouette that I like, that I’m inspired by… and that becomes my look for like, 6 to 8 months… I’m a creature of habit, and I wear seemingly the same shit… until I’m inspired by something else and then I completely get rid of everything else.”

An early proponent of gender-fluid dressing, Williams likes to wear Chanel pearls with everything from a tuxedo to a yellow hoodie. The Chanel-Pharrell collection channels the same energy inspired by the original gender-bender Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Her stylistic habit of borrowing from men’s wardrobes — especially trousers — had a massive effect on women’s wardrobes.

“Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel didn’t see partitions. And it’s interesting, because neither did the brand when it came to giving me a shot. They didn’t see partitions,” Williams noted.

“But they’re not afraid of these things. Just like she wasn’t afraid. There don’t need to be boundaries. As long as you can hold on to the heritage, and continue to push it, like Karl always does, we don’t need walls — we need bridges,” he added.

The very diverse cast in the campaign film goes far beyond Anna Ewers, Ophelie Guillermand and SooJoo Park Yoon Young Bae, Adesuwa Aighewi, Alton Mason and Anok Yai deliver enthusiastic performances.In the video, Aighewi displays the handwritten message on a pair of white sneakers with mismatched laces: “I like this part where it says ‘Women will save the world.’” Yai shares a close-up of a chain bracelet with a logo that combines the Chanel and Pharrell names, a visual identity that appears throughout the collection.

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Pharell shares the story of the meaning of No.5 in his life. “Five has always been Coco’s number. You know, the famous number five. Five is the number for men. It’s also the date of my birthday,” said the rapper, who turned 46 on April 5.

On the back of a long-sleeve T-shirt, he printed a handwritten story about a bet he once made with a friend who predicted a future collaboration with Chanel.

“At that time, gender fluidity and these things addressing gender weren’t as loud and pronounced as they are now. I was just doing it because it was just the way I felt,” he recalled. “I lost the bet. It was a bet that I’ve been happy to lose.”