Williams’s hat remains one of the most legendary moments in fashion history.
Within 24 hours, the Twitterati had identified the hat as a signature accessory, the Buffalo Hat, from Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s first official fashion show, Autumn/Winter’s 1983 “Nostalgia of Mud.” That show catapulted them from the anti-establishment kids behind Sid Vicious’s safety pins to full-on Paris runway disruptors with a collection of soft-tailored layers in a dusty palette.
McLaren said at the time that this was his attempt “To show in clothes and music that, in the post-industrial age, the roots of our culture lie in primitive societies”; you can see how the hat is like a blown-up bowler with a cowboy hat brim, but its dented, molded crown makes it look somehow humane instead of ridiculous and swaggery, at least in the context of that initial show.
Williams’s unusual combination of a red track jacket with the hat was traced back to the music video for “Buffalo Girl,” a single McLaren made with The World’s Famous Supreme Team, in which members of the hip hop group wore the hat with Adidas tracksuits.
Then Williams did something weird: he just kept wearing The Hat.
In April, his then-stylist, Mariel Haenn, told Style.com that The Hat was Williams’s signature: “When you see any hat shaped like that, you automatically associate it with Pharrell, which I think is really smart.” When the site asked him whether he was hurt by all the jokes, she said, “Not at all. It was kind of expected.” As Pharrell said in an interview shortly after the Grammys, “I was just wearing a hat.”
You may be surprised to learn that Williams didn’t spend all of 2014 in The Hat. In March, he auctioned off The Hat he wore to the Grammys on eBay, where it sold for $44,100. The buyer was Arby’s
In years since, Williams has returned to his dapper streetwear origins, thriving in the sweet spot between Bape and Chanel.
Williamss Year of Magical Hatting was one of the last vestiges of fashions Beta Red Carpet Years, when conservatism and insecurity defined award season dressing.
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By Daniel Usidamen