NEW YORK — It was an easy proposition for Pharrell Williams to accept. A longtime collector of Louis Vuitton luggage, Williams was elated when Marc Jacobs asked him and Nigo, his friend and Bathing Ape founder, to collaborate on the house’s first sunglass collection.
The result? A collection of sunglasses that loosely draws from Brian de Palma’s “Scarface.” With names such as Elvira, Lady Tiger and Havana, they are peppered with gold details and executed in the quality that accessories junkies have come to expect from the house. Priced from $300 to $500, they will hit Louis Vuitton boutiques in April.
Seated next to Catherine Deneuve at Louis Vuitton’s spring presentation earlier this month, the hip-hop impresario sported a red pair from the collection — much to the delight of the paparazzi. WWD talked with Williams about Louis Vuitton, luxury and the importance of a good pair of sunglasses.
WWD: How did the collaboration come about?
Pharrell Williams: Marc had seen a few pictures of me in sunglasses and said he liked the glasses. He wanted to know what my take on sunglasses would be like for Louis Vuitton. He pretty much let me go into my own world. I thought that was great. At the end of the day, he is Marc Jacobs and it is Louis Vuitton, and who am I for that matter?
WWD: How was the design process?
P.W.: We started talking about it at the beginning of the summer. I told them specifically what pairs I wanted, and how I wanted the pairs to look. We discussed the weight, the glasses and a lot of details. I told them that I thought quality glasses are what it’s all about. The whole project is a total reflection of them giving me a chance, and I thought it was just great.
WWD: What’s your favorite fashion label and why?
P.W.: To be quite honest, there are different things that I like. In terms of getting dressed, it would totally be Gucci, it would totally be Valentino. In terms of accessories and leather goods, it would definitely be Vuitton. As far as what I’d like my girl to wear, that’s a whole other story. She absolutely looks incredible in Gucci, and what woman doesn’t look good in Blahniks?
WWD: What’s your take on sunglasses?
P.W.: Sunglasses are basically a reflection of how you feel. At one point in time, they were intended to keep the light completely out of your eyes. But it’s become such a fashionable item that now sunglasses could be worn anywhere, like when I am sipping my wine thinking, ‘Is it going to be incredible when girls are walking by on the runway, my legs are crossed and now I have these on my face?’
They give you a sense of encouragement. They encourage you to really be you. It’s kind of like a steroid to your personality. The sunglasses are like the ice on the wine, they make everything chill.
WWD: What inspired you?
P.W.: I guess it’s American ambition. You know, to rise. Seeing that success is basically what you make it. These sunglasses are not about the struggle, but about the celebration of making it in this world. We made different pairs for different moments of the day, but overall they have this statement: ‘I am going places.’
WWD: Are you going to be wearing them when you perform?
P.W.: I love the sunglasses, so it depends on how I feel. These sunglasses are like a pair of sneakers. You wear them how you feel. It depends on how you wake up that day.
WWD: You were seated next to Catherine Deneuve at the show. What did she have to say about the sunglasses?
P.W.: All the things that mattered to me were the first things that came out of her mouth…like the weight, the gold on the side. We tried to make sure that these glasses paid much attention to detail.
I don’t want to be involved with anything in my life anymore that doesn’t appreciate and celebrate the attention to detail. That’s what she was saying to me. She is a huge star. It was incredible just to be there, and to do what I am doing. You have to understand, I am a regular dude. At the end of the day, this is all an incredible dream come true.