8 posts tagged "Pharrell Williams"
There’s no shortage of deejays on the fashion scene, with your Misshapes and your Harleys and your Alexas and what have you. But Mimi Xu—who goes by the name of Misty Rabbit when she’s on the decks—has a particularly impressive knack for blending unexpected musical genres (think Berlin’s ambient electro mixed with classical jazz fading into a cool spin of disco-funk) into cohesive and oh-so-catchy sets. She’s an eager bunny, and knows just how to get the party going for the likes of Miu Miu, Prada, Fendi, Acne Studios, and too many others to name. This season, the Shanghai- and Copenhagen-raised but London-based sound designer is as busy as ever. She mixed the soundtracks for Yigal Azrouël, Catherine Malandrino, Tome, and Ostwald Helgason in New York, developed runway music for Topshop, Julien Macdonald, and Emilia Wickstead in London, and dropped a special Fall/Winter mix for Mytheresa.com just last week. Next up? A hotly anticipated party for Moncler’s Pharrell Williams collaboration in Paris this evening, and a personal design project, which will undoubtedly become the requisite accessory for music-loving cool girls come holiday season. Here, Xu talks to Style.com about her Mytheresa.com mix, the difference between playing parties and runways, and her favorite new artists.
You’ve done a lot of shows this season. How does deejaying a fashion show differ from deejaying a party?
Deejaying is about a spontaneous, fun, and playful way of sharing music. It’s about getting the party going. When you do a soundtrack, it’s very nerdy and unglamorous—you’re behind the scenes, you’re really working with the designer, and you’re creating something with the designer to really reflect his collection. It’s not about what I like. Of course, it’s about my influences and my take on music. But I’m there to showcase the collection. I love doing both, but they’re very different. Show soundtracks take a lot longer. It’s a much more technical process—it’s much more creative, and it’s more intellectual. And with soundtracks, everything’s set in stone previously. On the day of the catwalk, you don’t have to do anything besides cuing the show. But when you deejay, things never go to plan. Anything can happen on the dance floor. I can fill up the stage—who knows?
What have designers been asking you to play this season?
There are no specific trends this season. Each designer had their own inspirations. Musically, I went from Mississippi blues to Brazilian seventies experimental Tropicalia movement to psychedelic rave to classical theatrical to French electro. It’s a big range, so you need to be very erudite in your music knowledge. Designers need that.
What are you going to play for the Moncler-and-Pharrell Williams party?
I’ve been thinking today that we’re gonna do something quite hip-hop-y. But I don’t know! You can’t play Pharrell Williams tracks. I’d be embarrassed to play someone’s track when they’re in the room. So I’m not sure yet…. Obviously, I’m gonna have a lot of R&B and hip-hop, but it’s gonna go into disco and a few electronica-sounding tracks, too. I need to get people dancing, so I’ll see tonight how it will go. Continue Reading “Misty Rabbit Talks Spinning Fashion’s Soundtracks” »
It has been a while since Pharrell Williams was first starting out and creating songs on his 1980s Casio keyboard. Tonight, in New York, however, the artis—who’s since lent his creative vision to classics such as Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” and Britney Spears’ “I’m a Slave 4 U”—will revisit the keyboard and drum machine that were so crucial to the development in his musical career. Williams collaborated with multidisciplinary artist Daniel Arsham, who created replicas of Williams’ instruments out of volcanic ash, rusted steel, crystal, and carbon dust. (It is part of a larger body of work by Arsham, which features the seeming petrifaction of contemporary relics.) Arsham, an acclaimed New York-based artist and architect, has collaborated with the likes of Hedi Slimane, Merce Cunningham, Jonah Bokaer, and art dealer Emmanuel Perrotin. (If you attended the En Noir presentation at Milk Studios a few days ago, you might have caught the mountain installation his company Snarkitecture created to accompany the performance by Lil Buck.) Before the two unveil their one-night-only exhibition, Williams and Arsham talked to Style.com, exclusively, about their project, Phoebe Philo, and a potential secret performance.
How did you two first link up?
Daniel Arsham: We met a few years ago, through my Parisian gallerist. This came about specifically when we were at my studio and discussing all the different processes. This project was about taking something that was important and special to him in the past that he no longer uses.
Pharrell Williams: I have always admired what it is that this guys does. It’s a whole different art form that gets looped in with all the other different eras, styles, and influences. I love what he did with the keyboard.
Tell me about these particular instruments that inspired the piece.
D.A.: At a dinner, I asked Pharrell, “What object was very important to you and special in life that you no longer use?” He couldn’t remember the model or the name, but he said it was a small keyboard, from somewhere around 1988, and it has drum pads on it. And, it was sold at RadioShack. We finally located it (it was a Casio), and for me, the detail of these objects is particularly important. This keyboard had a lot of special detail in it.
P.W.: I remember making very, very novice attempts at trying to construct a song using that keyboard. In order to make songs, we had to push a button at the same time we started and recording it to a cassette. It was all manually done. We had never been in a studio before. This is over twenty years ago.
It is pretty incredible how things have changed since then, in terms of technology and the music industry, isn’t it?
P.W.: It is amazing, but that’s what existed then. It is the constant morphing, evolution, and, in some cases, stagnancy of the human imagination. You realize where you are standing right now is valuable. I was saying the other day that what you build today is what you will live in tomorrow. I really like the idea that this guy works across so many disciplines but his DNA is very consistent. What I get from him is not necessarily, How can I push the boundaries of reality? but more so, How can I share what I am seeing in my head? And, Oh, by the way, it might just be a twist on reality.
You are unveiling this project during the middle of fashion week. Was that a coincidence, or was there a conversation between art and fashion that you hoped to inspire with this work?
D.A.: Just coincidence. Originally, we finished the pieces, and we weren’t going to do anything around it, but it seemed like a shame not to share them with anyone.
P.W.: I don’t think you go into a project thinking that. More than anything else, you consider the visibility, but you don’t work backwards, thinking, Oh, my god, we are going to blow everyone away. It’s more about appreciating the impetus, and the genesis of it is the most important thing. We start with one great first cause, and everything else is reactionary and an effect. There are people who do projects the other way, but those are the ones we ignore and walk past. You can smell the ambition in it.
Pharrell, you are a force in your own right within the fashion industry. Do you have any other big plans or projects happening during NYFW?
P.W.: No, not at all. Maybe a secret performance or two, but that’s it. I am here as a spectator, and I’m just going to be here to enjoy the week. I have some other work to do in New York that doesn’t involve fashion week.
Who do you find most inspiring, design-wise, right now?
P.W.: Céline’s Phoebe Philo. I would love to get to see her show in Paris. I think she is a genius, and I love the detail and attention she puts into her work.
In every group of friends, there’s the individual whose home becomes the go-to crash pad. For a certain subset of New Yorkers, that spot has long been Chrissie Miller’s apartment, a.k.a. “Club Chrissie,” which is also the name of Miller’s new Web series, a talk show that is “part Wayne’s World, part Pee-wee’s Playhouse,” she told Style.com. “Cory Kennedy came up with the name ‘Club Chrissie,’ and it’s been one of those things I can’t get away from,” she explained. “I didn’t even want it to be called that, but it has just stuck. I’m like, that’s so embarrassing. Can’t it be something chic?”
Each seven-minute-long episode features a special guest who stops by to hang out with Miller (and her curious cast of puppets including Pidgey the Pigeon and Cory the Fish) and try a different craft or DIY project—”kind of like a downtown Martha Stewart,” she said. For example, Miller brought Pamela Love on to make jewelry together and Reece Hudson designer Reece Solomon to create a handbag. Other visitors dabbling in all forms of studding, tie-dyeing, and embroidering include Miller’s pals Drea de Matteo, performer Maxine Ashley, Mickey Boardman, and Pharrell Williams, whose virtual platform/YouTube channel I am OTHER is hosting the program.
“I’ve wanted to do something like this for a while, but I didn’t want it to be on TV TV. Previously, I had this idea to do something like ‘In Bed With Chrissie’ where I was just talking in bed with someone and that was the show,” she said. Miller went to film school, and cool visuals were always integral to the success of her cult T-shirt line Sophomore NYC, which she has put on hold for the moment to focus on projects like this. “I watch tons of YouTube videos, and my boyfriend [artist Leo Fitzpatrick] knows every single funny video out there. He’s basically finished the Internet, finding weird shorts that have like 100 hits. Hopefully ‘Club Chrissie’ is a bit more popular,” she laughed. Based on the show’s fun promo, debuting exclusively here on Style.com, we’re betting it will be a viral success.
“Club Chrissie” premieres on Monday and will be airing weekly at I am OTHER.
This weekend, 28-year-old Pablo Ganguli, the flamboyant curator of culture and creative characters, took his Liberatum festival for the arts to Hong Kong, co-curated with pianist Rosey Chan. Despite the endless black rain, the nonprofit three-day event, which featured lively talks with Pharrell Williams, world-renowned producer William Orbit, and Paul Schrader as well as installations by filmmaker Mike Figgis and a performance piece by Terence Koh, attracted editors and culture enthusiasts from around the globe. On Saturday night, the festival’s participants and spectators joined Ferragamo at Hong Kong’s Kee Club for dinner, dancing, and a surprise performance by one of the weekend’s most glamorous headliners, Spanish actress and Almodóvar muse Rossy de Palma. “As long as I can remember, Rossy has influenced me with her dynamic character,” Ganguli said.
The talk quickly turned to the festival’s temporary home. “When people talk about China these days, they usually talk about money,” said Vogue China’s editor in chief, Angelica Cheung, who turned up in a smart black Lanvin look. “The art scene in China, as everybody knows, is very active. But everything here is often commercial, commercial, commercial! More people should be doing things like this,” she added, noting that she particularly enjoyed Stephen Webster’s lecture, which took place at the festival earlier that day. (Webster, as it turned out, was in Hong Kong for reasons commercial as well as artistic: In addition to the fair, he was in town for a show of his jewels at Lane Crawford. “I brought all my best stuff because I really want to test it out here,” he said.)
De Palma made her grand entrance in a sequined Custo look, fluttering a black fan. “It was always my fantasy to come to Hong Kong. I am obsessed with China!” she said. It was her first time in the city, but her burlesque performance included an improvised homage: “Hong Kong, my darling, I love you!”