If one thing has defined Pharrell Williams' expansive 22-year career, it's his dedication to futurism. He has consistently pushed boundaries forward, whether rapping with Snoop, stunting with Nigo or, at present, having the biggest year of his career yet. Indeed, 2014 has brought a stream of style collaborations for the artist, but his latest might be his most major yet: GIRL, Pharrell's signature fragrance developed alongside similarly avant-garde Japanese label Comme des Garçons. Last week, we sat with him in Las Vegas to discuss his vision for the unisex scent
GIRL is intended "for boys and girls," and has deep cedar undertones and top notes of neroli and white pepper. If certain men are slightly timid about wearing a scent called GIRL, graffiti nerds and art fanatics will at least be drawn in by the collectible bottle, which is designed by longtime Pharrell compatriot Kaws. It looks like a sculpture of a little person.
Of course, the beauty realm has been progressing to the point that gender demarcation for fragrance or makeup is increasingly moot to even average dudes on the street. This past week in Las Vegas, Sephora introduced GIRL and held its annual PRO championships, in which the company's top makeup artists vie for the chance to become an official ambassador for the brand — and nowhere was it clearer that beauty is evolving in fascinating, boundary-bucking ways.
The PRO finals are a bit like American Idol-meets-Project Runway, with 32 finalists from Sephora stores across the country competing for one of the coveted 12 spots on the PRO team — a career turn which will whisk them from in-store artistry to worldwide make-up work on behalf of Sephora. Each finalist was required to create a "no makeup" look and an avant-garde look that fit the theme "Bazaar Noir" (essentially inspired by an old-timey, demented circus), which were graded by judges Jarrod Blandino (Too Faced), Davis Factor (Smashbox), James Vincent (Ardency Inn), Jessica Stacey (Sephora), and Boyoung Lee (Sephora). In the final reveal, the Bazaar Noir creations were presented against a backdrop of actual circus performers, and the results were a dazzling look into the contestants' imaginations and expanse of what makeup can be. (Winning standouts included a breathtaking, freehand feline by Shaun Lumaban and Helen Phillips' dazzling snake charmer, proving that the right unorthodox looks can translate perfectly to editorial.)
Pharrell dropped in to surprise Sephora Pro attendees, so after the excitement was over, the real event began: chatting with the man who soundtracked your summer, reinvented headwear, and changed hip-hop production as we know it. We had a brief chat with Skateboard P about internal beauty, woman empowerment, and of course, guyliner.