Pharrell Williams has become a bit of a prince in the fashion industry. Thanks to an epic seal of approval from the legendary Karl Lagerfeld, as well as his own killer sense of style, Williams has become an icon, attending parties and runway shows left and right. He's even got his own sustainable clothing initiative, which is made from recycled materials from the ocean. But today, he makes a bit of fashion history: Williams is the first male to front a Chanel handbag campaign, ever.
Williams and Chanel go way back. Actually, he rounds out the squad that is the brand's faces du moment: Lily-Rose Depp, Kristen Stewart, and Cara Delevingne. Williams was the surprise celebrity guest model when he walked in its Métiers d'Art show in Paris last December, which saw him decked out in pearls, a Chanel brooch, tweed coat, and a yarmulke. And, he starred alongside Delevingne in Chanel's pre-fall "Paris-Salzburg" campaign, which included a video of the two singing and dancing. He's been known to rock the French label on the red carpet and in the streets, too.
But his love for Chanel actually dates back about 10 years. WWD, who revealed the campaign exclusively, spoke to Williams about his nostalgic relationship with the brand. "I was like a nerdy little black kid on a skateboard. So looking at high-end fashion was something that I really didn’t understand in the very beginning," he explained. "And then I realized, slowly but surely, man, this is amazing. And although there’s mostly the perception that it’s for women, I just started to see, 'Okay, as a man I can wear some of this.' So I would wear sunglasses here, or a jacket there."
As for why he's fronting a woman's handbag campaign? Lagerfeld told WWD that he wanted to show customers that the Gabrielle bag can be worn in "many circumstances," including by a man. Lagerfeld revealed to the publication that the bag was inspired by a VR headset, which are used by both men and women. "It’s not very feminine in the sense of being chichi,” he admitted. He put the bag on several male models at his fall 2017 show in Paris this week, too.
For fans of Chanel, however, this isn't the first time Lagerfeld has dipped his toes in the gender neutral accessories arena. Remember those Boy Bags from way back? Just about every celebrity has one nowadays, but thanks to male bloggers like BryanBoy and Pelayo Diaz of KateLovesMe.net, we saw yet another Chanel purse bridge the gap between genders. At anywhere between $3,000 and $33,000 a pop, the Gabrielle bag isn't exactly affordable, but we're waiting with baited breath to see Williams style it up on the red carpet. Perhaps at this year's Met Gala?