Pharrell Williams Wants You to Smell Like Photosynthesis


What does Pharrell Williams smell like? Something like sunshine in a bottle — or so he would have you believe.

Light is the concept behind LV Lovers, Mr. Williams’s new fragrance for Louis Vuitton, which hired him as its men’s wear creative director last year. “The idea,” Mr. Williams said in an email, “is photosynthesis.”

While that gauzy notion may puzzle even the most passionate fragrance fans, it ought to resonate with Mr. Williams’s more ardent followers, who are likely to welcome the new scent as an olfactory distillation of his exceedingly sunny hit single “Happy.”

Since joining Louis Vuitton, Mr. Williams has incorporated natural light into his men’s wear shows. He presented his debut men’s collection for the label on Paris’s Pont Neuf bridge at dusk last June and, on Tuesday, models wearing his latest collection walked under an incandescent sky in a show held outside the offices of UNESCO, the United Nations’s cultural agency, in Paris.

With LV Lovers, Mr. Williams said he aimed to concoct a formula that conjured feelings of positivity and well-being — or the metaphorical sensation, as he put it, “that the sun is shining on us.” That feeling, Mr. Williams explained, is imparted primarily by galbanum, a woody-smelling gum-resin derived from a plant commonly found in Iran. It is the chief ingredient in the fragrance, which he developed in collaboration with the perfumers Jacques Cavallier-Belletrud and Camille Cavallier-Belletrud, a father-daughter team.

LV Lovers, which costs $320, is hitting shelves about a decade after Mr. Williams collaborated with Comme des Garcons on Girl, a short-lived unisex fragrance introduced at Sephora to promote his second solo album of the same name.

Has he learned valuable lessons from that venture? Mr. Williams wouldn’t say.

But he did indicate that LV Lovers is more vibrantly in tune with his mood at the moment. Like many of his favorite scents, he said, “it is an elevated version of something that’s familiar to me, not too strong, but definitely on the sweeter side.”

He added: “I can I smell the colors — light blue with a hint of purple.”

Will he wear it? “Absolutely,” Mr. Williams said.

Alessandro Michele rocked the fashion world when he stepped down as the creative director at Gucci in 2022. He shocked it once more when he was named the creative director at Valentino in March. This week, the designer startled his followers yet again with the release of a cruise collection for Valentino months ahead of what was expected to be his first ready-to-wear show for the label in September.

Mr. Michele, once widely admired for infusing eccentricity and romanticism into his Gucci designs, was pilloried for reintroducing those very traits in his inaugural collection for Valentino. On Instagram, a post about the line by the industry watchdog Diet Prada received an outpouring of critical comments.

“A nightmare! RIP Valentino,” read one.

“I can only imagine what horror Mr. Valentino must be going through to see his once ultra chic and elegant brand turned into a hot mess,” said another, referring to Valentino’s eponymous founder.

“It’s his Gucci with a Valentino label, same drag show, same weirdness,” read a third.

The collection was in fact an effusive yet paradoxically disciplined amalgam of streamlined 1960s tailoring and ’70s hippie chic. Items like embroidered capes, fur-trimmed coats and ornate caftans reflected Mr. Michele’s familiar aesthetic, as did pieces recalling the tidy luncheon suits favored in the ’60s by Valentino acolytes like Audrey Hepburn, Princess Margaret of Britain and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

But when stripped of flourishes like granny turbans, ropes of pearls and — quelle horreur! — knee socks worn with fisherman’s sandals, Mr. Michele’s Valentino rested on a scaffolding of commercially viable patterns and shapes. Which may be why, in assessing his contributions, cooler heads are likely to prevail.

As Tiziana Cardini of Vogue put it in a recent article, “Alessandro is in the styling. But the precision of the construction, the execution, the femininity and the grace are Valentino.”

The British designer Vivienne Westwood, who died in 2022, was known for her fiercely renegade spirit. It lives on in many of her clothes, like an urn-shaped, emerald-colored suit with dramatically arced shoulders; a tartan ensemble from her fabled 1993 Anglomania collection; and, perhaps most spectacularly, an elaborately corseted, silk-taffeta gown with a buoyant two-tiered skirt, from a 1998 collection.

Each of these garments attest to Ms. Westwood’s twin obsessions with historicism and precise construction. And all are on the block at Christie’s in London as part of “Vivienne Westwood: The Personal Collection,” a sale and an exhibition comprising, as its title suggests, pieces from Ms. Westwood’s label that she owned herself.

The two-part event — a live auction in London on Tuesday, and an online sale through June 28 — includes over-the-top yet surprisingly durable items: a fancifully tasseled cotton corset; shocking pink satin pajamas; and a faux pearl choker strung with a rhinestone encrusted signature orb, a signature motif of Ms. Westwood’s. An immaculately tailored Prince-of-Wales-check suit from her eccentrically named 1988 Britain Must Go Pagan collection is also up for grabs.

Adrian Hume-Sayer, a private collections director at Christie’s, said in an email that the auction’s more coveted lots are likely to include the 18th-century-inspired corseted gown with the tiered skirt, which Ms. Westwood wore to a tribute held in her honor by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in 1998.

Mr. Hume-Sayer, who is overseeing the sale, said his personal favorites were difficult to choose. “Everything has a story, and everything resonates.”





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