Post-Happy Pharrell Williams gets into the Holi spirit
Mumbai: American musician and record producer Pharrell Williams is in town with an appropriately cool offering of Adidas Originals this Holi—with a range of powder-dyed apparel and sneakers in pastel shades.
The Holi collection is the latest in Williams’s Adidas Hu (health ultimatum) line. The US-based sportswear maker has previously collaborated with designers such as Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang under Adidas Originals.
Williams, the second major American musician to collaborate with the brand after Kanye West, says he wants to use Hu as a platform to highlight other cultures and their customs.
“Whether people are aware of it or not, fashion incorporates the mentality of the time. What goes on in the zeitgeist, goes into the clothes—whether it’s politically motivated or socially motivated or purely subliminal,” Williams said in his hotel suite in Mumbai’s St Regis.
He himself will spend Holi at a private party with fellow Adidas ambassador and Bollywood actor Ranveer Singh.
The Hu Holi collection, which was launched on Thursday, includes a range of powder-dyed kicks, as well as an all-white Blank Canvas range featuring classic Stan Smiths with the words “World” and “Sansar” embroidered in English and Devanagari.
“Holi is not just about colours, it’s a vivid celebration of happiness. You know, a light wave can also be interpreted as a sound wave. So when you guys are spreading colours, they are essentially physical sounds… it’s like singing to each other. That’s a beautiful notion,” said Williams.
Williams is all about sound waves—at 44, he has won 11 Grammies and been nominated for two Academy Awards. His discography alone takes up three Wikipedia pages, including the 2014 feel-good anthem Happy. As a music producer, Williams has delivered chart-toppers for most of Hollywood’s music elite, from Gwen Stefani (HollaBack Girl) to Ed Sheeran (Sing).
But “happy” isn’t what his new album No_One Ever Really Dies is all about—the sombre mood of a post-Trump, post-Weinstein world has prompted Williams to dial down the euphoria.
Reviewers have labelled it an “anti-happy protest album”.
“That’s interesting because I’m super happy to stand up for the things I believe in,” said Williams. “People say it’s a protest record but I don’t know… I’m just trying to give visibility and volume to things that I feel are important—women’s rights, immigration, gun regulation, the ethical treatment of others.”