Our style icons usually benefit from seeing their sartorial triumphs through a tightly curated, impossibly cool, rose-tinted lens—especially if they lived in a generally more stylish era.
Which makes it tough for guys of our generation, like Pharrell Williams.
We’ve watched Mr. Williams grow into a pretty stylish fellow over the years, while being good for producing at least one “song of summer” each summer for the past decade—which is surely the sort of thing that will be looked back upon as iconic. But at this point in his sartorial career, we can still only speculate whether he’ll be a first-ballot style icon or not. There have been good signs so far: designing clothing with the likes of Mark McNairy. And glimmers of brilliance: making tailoring choices that might even have Thom Browne blushing. But he’s not there yet. (Partially due to the fact that he’s only 40.) He’s close, though, and we think we can help.
It’s finally happened: the camouflage trend has jumped the shark.
It all began innocently enough—the arbiters of the heritage movement began digging deeper into the history of Americana and a trend was born. At first, we were happy to see more bold patterns finding their way into menswear (even if, like the Navajo print before it, there were some lingering issues of decorum). But then labels began using it with wanton disregard: wingtips, backpacks, boardshorts... and then came the all-camo-everything look. We gave the Japanese a pass because, well, we admire their enthusiasm.
The suit in question was designed by Thom Browne, which does give the look a bit of leeway toward the fashion-y end of the spectrum. But we must draw a line somewhere. And so, we’re decreeing a moratorium on civilians wearing more than one piece of camo simultaneously. Effective immediately and lasting indefinitely.
Pharrell can be grating, but he still manages a flash of brilliance from time to time. Like this. Or, more importantly, the item on the left.
To be fair, he had a lot of help from Moncler—who have a bit of experience with this sort of thing—but the basic conceit is unmistakeably his: a “pacifist” bulletproof jacket. Of course, it’s not exactly bulletproof. In fact, it bears a striking resemblance to a style of puffer vests currently making its way onto boutique shelves, but this one’s a little darker, a little stranger, and a whole lot more interesting thanks to the sinister undertones.
Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club label is usually too firmly on the streetwear side of things to catch our eye, but this striped shirt caught our eye as a potential crossover piece.
It looks like something we’d pick up at A.P.C.…so much so that we scoured their back catalog looking for this exact item. But the issue isn’t sartorial plagiarism so much as a healthy exchange of ideas. This item made its way from pasty Parisians to hip-hop futurists in just a few seasons.
Feast your eyes on this clownish couple, but be forewarned before clicking to enlarge the picture: they're so plastered with logos we got acute conjunctivitis just looking at 'em. Underneath all the claptrap you might recognize NASCAR nuggins Jeff Gordon (right), and a certain Mr. Pharrell Williams, who has won the adulation of the style set despite the fact that he dresses like an 11-year-old Japanese kid with ADD and way too much disposable income.
The painful-to-look-upon pair posed the other night at a Hollywood party for the Pepsi 500, the yearly race held at the end of the NASCAR season at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Despite the similar getups they were not in fact there as a couple; Gordon was accompanied by his hot model/actress wife Ingrid Vandebosch. At least he has good taste in something.
Despite what Kanye might tell you, the market for high-end streetwear based on sci-fi movie in-jokes is somewhat limited. And for A Bathing Ape, the Pharrell-endorsed Japanese import, time may be running out.