16 Gems From Pharrell’s "Son of a Pharaoh” Auction
The nearly 50 pieces of clothing, sneakers, jewelry, and memorabilia culled from Pharrell’s personal stash for Joopiter’s debut “Son of a Pharaoh'' auction are individually exciting to behold but, together, form a nearly impenetrable assortment of culture-defining history. How could any one person be expected to grasp the deeper meaning of any one object when presented with this many treasures?
Thus, we’re taking a moment to stop and smell the roses, breaking down the backstories of some of the gems hidden inside “Son of a Pharaoh.” Some of these selections seem fairly straightforward, in that they’re obviously quite beautiful or rare, but even the most conspicuous items hide at least a little deeper meaning.
There are clear standouts, like the stunning luxury trunks, but there are also subtle details that make the custom sneakers and jewelry that much more special. Crazy to think that anything from Jacob & Co. could be even more appealing than it appears at first blush but leave it to Pharrell to shock and awe down to the small touches.
1. Princess Anne High School Letterman Jacket
This is, technically, where it all began. Pharrell’s customized Alpinestars moto jacket is arguably the flashiest garment in “Son of a Pharaoh,” but his Princess Anne High School varsity jacket represents the origins of Pharrell as we know him.
As seen in N.E.R.D.’s “Maybe” music video and various onstage appearances, this jacket was produced by Holloway, one of the OG American varsity manufacturers with roots that date back to the ‘40s. Pharrell’s personal version is made of Holloway’s signature melton wool and leather in Princess Anne’s red and white colors, embroidered with his name and extracurricular.
This jacket is sort of a two-piece Pharrell origin story. It’s both indicative of Pharrell’s humble drumming origins — while playing drums at band camp, Pharrell met founding Neptunes and N.E.R.D. member Chad Hugo — and his stylistic roots. It’s difficult to imagine Billionaire Boys Club’s progressive prep without Pharrell’s long standing appreciation for a good varsity jacket.
2. The Embroidery Details on this BBC Letterman Jacket
Speaking of a good varsity jacket, consider this custom Billionaire Boys Club garment made for Pharrell in 2014. Like his Princess Anne varsity, Pharrell’s BBC varsity boasts a wool body, leather sleeves, and statement embroidery. Unlike the Princess Anne varsity, the BBC varsity is covered with dense layers of intricate text, patterns, and sketches.
There’s an illustrative hand-drawn quality to the art that stretches across both sleeves of the BBC varsity, from the painterly flowers to the perfectly imperfect dots stamped across the rear of the right arm. Lettering is intentionally rough-hewn, with the end of “GRATEFUL” in “GRATEFUL 4 LIFE” spilling into an adjoining panel and the first “no” just barely fitted into “"Without Conversation There Is No Conversion And Therefore No Conviction.”
Indeed, there are plenty of no-nonsense sentiments that epitomize Pharrell’s outlook on life, exaggerated and emphasized with dynamic lettering. Some of these themes are so important to Pharrell that he’s reiterated them throughout his career (compare the text on this jacket to the drawings applied to his Adidas Stan Smith shoes).
There’s an all-caps “FEMINISM” above the tiny affirmation “The Answer 2 Our Future,” the letters of “sex” interwoven with the bolder “LOVE,” and, on the chest, delicate script repeating the mantra that’s guided Billionaire Boys Club since its inception: “Wealth is of the heart and mind, not the pocket.”
3. Pharrell's Cusomizations of this Pearl Necklace
Long before every celebrity had their own beauty brand and nail polish was ever considered genderless, Pharrell casually upended gender norms at his own pace. Not for any grand statement, either, but simply as an extension of his eternal quest to manifest personal expression.
Hence why Pharrell would dress in baggy hoodies and skater jeans one day and preppy polos the next. He’d flex beefy gold chains onstage at one concert and then, at an award show the next week, he’d wear delicate pearls.
This pearl necklace, a forebear to the co-branded creations that Pharrell would eventually cook up with Chanel, is an important touchstone of his lingering stylistic influence. It’s also a showcase of Pharrell’s maturing jewelry palate: what began as a simple string of freshwater pearls was eventually upgraded by Skateboard P with a Hoorsenbuhs lock charm and enormous emerald as his taste evolved.
4. The N.E.R.D. Brain Logo was Designed by Shepard Fairey
It’s tough to say that there’s any of Pharrell’s jewelry is the singular one “must-have,” but the N.E.R.D. brain chains would be a pretty good contender. Created in partnership with longtime Pharrell collaborator Jacob & Co., these brain chains make the only possible improvement upon Shepard Fairey’s inimitable iconography by slathering his N.E.R.D. logo in gold and diamonds.
Produced in 2004, the same year that N.E.R.D. unleashed Fly or Die, the yellow gold chain is nearly a third smaller than its larger white gold sibling, which was produced in 2005 (the year that The Neptunes produced “Hollaback Girl” and the theme for The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, if we’re still using Pharrell’s discography as a timeline). That doesn’t mean that the smaller chain isn’t extremely luxe but rather that the white gold chain is extraordinarily opulent.
“Late ‘90s, early 2000s, you definitely wasn’t seeing no white gold,” Pharrell recently said of the unique, larger design.
Though Pharrell wore these quite often, he’s stepped back from flashy accessories in recent years, if only a little bit. Pharrell explained that, back in the aughts, the jewelry he designed “was really all about the flex,” and hardly anything is a bigger flex than these N.E.R.D. chains.
5. The Skateboard P Pendants Actually Roll Like a Skateboard
“This is one of my favorite pieces of jewelry because the skateboard actually rolls,” Jacob & Co. founder Jacob Arabo said of Pharrell’s dripped-out skate decks (Tech Deck who?). They also happen to have “the finest quality yellow and pink diamonds.”
Obviously, the diamonds are the crux of what makes these tiny skateboards a big deal but extra appeal comes from the artful reference they make to the Jesus Piece, a jewelry trope inextricably linked to hip-hop history by Biggie, Diddy, Ghostface Killah.
The connection makes sense: skateboarding was practically Pharrell’s first religion, forever intertwined with his career, personality, and faith.
“Hip-hop was not really embracing skateboarding in that way [at the time] because of what the media was pushing,” explained Pharrell. “I'll never forget, arguing with the head of BET at the time, like 'What're you saying? We can't, like, have skateboards and hoodies?”
6. The Rubik’s Cube Functions
“Son of a Pharaoh” is packed with joyful goodies that’d satisfy the kid in anyone (ahem, golden PSP), but Pharrell’s diamond-studded Rubik’s cube could only have been designed by someone who’s kept their inner child in sight.
Fun is Pharrell’s personal brand and nothing symbolizes that better than this custom Jacob & Co. keychain. Yes, it’s a keychain, because what’s the point of a Rubik’s Cube that you can’t take with you? With five different styles of diamond, Ernő Rubik’s eponymous toy has never looked so good.
To take an everyday object and transform it into a thing of beauty — that’s what Jacob & Co. arguably does better than any of its peers. And with Pharrell in the mix, you get a combo of artisanal craft, peerless materials, and youthful whimsy.
7. The Story Behind the BBC Logo
Designed by BAPE graphic designer SK8THING and NIGO confidant Toby Feltwell, the Billionaire Boys Club logo barely needs an introduction. It’s been the symbol of Pharrell’s clothing line since he incepted it with NIGO back in 2003 but, here, it’s made resplendent by 3,000 white and black diamonds.
But why is the BBC logo an astronaut, specifically? For one, as Jacob Arabo put it, “Pharrell was always into astronauts.” They do look cool.
But on the other hand, Pharrell’s obsession with space also comes from his never-ending hunger to grow, thrive, succeed. When there’s no ceiling that can contain your vision, you expand into outer space — hence why Pharrell’s auction platform is named Joopiter.
“The astronaut helmet is the logo for BBC because the thesis was, if man can make it to the moon, then me and my friends can make it out of the hood,” Pharrell explained.
8. The Backside of the G-Shocks Show Pharrell in Diamonds
“First of all, Pharrell is a trendsetter,” Jacob Arabo said. “Anything that Pharrell and I created would get me so many calls, like ‘I want to make this jewelry exactly the same as Pharrell.’“
“After a while you started seeing these Casio bustdowns everywhere,” Pharrell recalled wryly. “But it’s fine, ‘cuz at that point, Jacob and I were used to being copied all the time.”
Little else needs to be said about Pharrell’s insane, pavéd diamond and gold G-Shock watches, which almost single handedly set the tone for mid-aughts wristwear: playful, opulent, unexpected.
But look closer. Arabo’s ingenuity can’t be understated — these things had to have their electronics rebuilt to fit the precious gems — and true Skateboard P heads will get the significance of having Pharrell’s character from the cover of In My Mind recreated on the rear. It’s both a salute to NIGO and the roots of Pharrell’s solo career.
9. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dynamographe & Concept Carbon Watches
Real ones know. Audemars Piguet watches are rare enough but this is a limited edition of a limited edition released in 2007.
Only 150 conventional Royal Oak Dynamographe timepieces were issued by AP but, of those, 16 special pairs were tailormade for a few VIP clients. This edition, a vision of sleek, geometric titanium fitted with a crocodile strap, was created exclusively for Pharrell Williams and is unlike any of its ultrarare siblings.
Also of interest to AP collectors is Pharrell’s Audemars Piguet Concept Carbon, comparatively minimalist when juxtaposed against the futuristic Dynamographe but nearly as challenging to find: this is one of only 25 editions ever made.
10. Number “001” from the Jacob & Co. 5 Time Zone Royal Collection
Jacob & Co. is deservedly best-known as a jeweler to the stars but founder Jacob Arabo is also, unsurprisingly, a watch obsessive with his own massive collection of covetable timepieces.
Not a surprise, then, that he’d eventually steer his eponymous brand into the watch realm, which is exactly what he did in 2005 with the Five Time Zone.
There have been plenty of Jacob & Co. timepieces in the interim but the Five Time Zone is the one that started it all. Who else would’ve rocked one of these bad boys from the jump but Pharrell?
Even back in 2005, Jacob and Pharrell were just that tight and this watch is proof: its diamond-studded white gold case is stamped “001,” indicating that this Five Time Zone is the very first from the sought-after Royal Collection.
A fitting accessory for a guy who’s been the first at so many other things.
11. Exotic Leathers on the Custom BAPESTA Sneakers
Nowadays, NIGO keeps his friends stocked with Human Made but, when he owned BAPE, to know NIGO was to wear nothing but Shark Hoodies and BAPESTAs. It was itself a riff on Nike’s timeless Air Force 1 but the BAPESTA was a step beyond, a secret handshake that signified knowledge of a streetwear world that stretched beyond America.
Pharrell, being one of NIGO’s closest friends, faithfully repped BAPE and BBC for years, wearing both the classics and special bits made exclusively for his wardrobe. These BAPESTA sneakers are the kinda stuff you’d only find there, though they’re actually based on general release shoes.
Each one-of-one BAPESTA was made in Pharrell’s shoe size (US 9) and swapped the original patent leather uppers for extremely opulent exotic skins: the “Brazil” pair from 2007 was remade in supple ostrich while the 2008 Spongebob pair was rebirthed in croc skin.
As a bonus, the latter sneakers match one of NIGO’s classic chains.
12. All Four Pairs in the Adidas NMD Lot Are Samples
The NMD is one of Adidas’ most enduring contemporary models and Pharrell’s take on the silhouette, the NMD Humanrace (HU for short), is no less prolific. Since its 2016 debut, the NMD HU has provided the base for countless makeovers and revisions, including a one-off that became the first-ever official Chanel sneaker collab.
These pairs are the earliest iterations of the Adidas NMD HU, as demonstrated by the two pairs still fitted with their factory tags. Even better, they’re all signed by Pharrell himself.
Later NMD HU sneakers would play with the Primeknit upper’s embroidery, closure, and sole unit, but these debut versions all set the tone for what would come, with their all-caps “HUMAN RACE” branding and minimalist lacing system.
13. Pharrell's Face is Printed on the Tongue of the Navy and Yellow Pairs of Swarovski Stan Smiths
Back in 2014, Adidas’ Stan Smith became the first Three Striped sneaker to receive Pharrell’s collaborative stamp. In general, it was a good year for the modest tennis shoe: everyone was wearing it, from Raf Simons to Stan himself, and collaborative models were plentiful.
But it wasn’t enough for Pharrell to rock the regular pairs, of course: “Son of a Pharaoh” demonstrates his predilections for only the funkiest pairs.
The white Consortium pair, for instance, is made unique by the artwork that Pharrell drew atop its faux python leather upper. Over time, he tweaked some illustrations and doodled atop others, treating the sneakers as a kind of living artifact reflective of where he was at that moment in time.
Then, there are three individual pairs of Stan Smiths hand-set with 1,600 Swarovski crystals. adidas gifted this trio of kicks to Pharrell on his 41st birthday; he then wore the yellow pair onstage during his 2015 Grammys performance and the white pair on Saturday Night Live.
The navy pair has never been seen and like the yellow pair, it has Pharrell’s face printed on the tongue — an utterly unique design feature that hasn’t even been implemented on Pharrell’s collaborative Stan Smiths.
14. PW Customizations on the Goyard Trunk
It’s one thing to own a bespoke trunk from venerable French maison Goyard and another thing entirely to have your bespoke trunk hand-painted with Pharrell references.
On top of the trunk being wrapped in the already uncommon all-over red Goyard monogram (with matching leather trim), the case was painted in Goyard’s atelier with a stark gray and black stripe that complements the dual monochrome shades utilized for the oversized P.W. initials.
Most folks get their names rendered in small lettering upon their Goyard bag or wallet; Pharrell goes big, always.
Of course, the main attraction is on the front. There, the stripe sandwiches three specially applied images key to Pharrell’s creative legacy: the logos for Star Trak, NIGO’s BAPE, and Billionaire Boys Club.
15. The Ultimate Louis Vuitton Trunk
Relatively early in Marc Jacobs’ decades-long run at Louis Vuitton, he made the daring decision to create a collaborative collection with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. In a way, this partnership set the tone for the myriad luxury-artist team-ups that followed, including Billionaire Boys Club (Murakami’s LV collab released in 2002, BBC debuted a year later).
This Louis Vuitton trunk would be rare enough as is simply for being part of the now-legendary Murakami collab but add in the fact that it was owned by Pharrell, himself a big-time Murakami fan, and you’ve got something truly special.
The LV case comes with original parts and tags that P received when he bought it in Paris but perhaps the most notable element of his ownership is the Billionaire Boys Club logo applied to the top of the trunk.
It frames this thing in a specific moment, when artists didn’t really cross over into luxury fashion and BBC was an upstart young imprint founded by two young prodigies.
In a way, the BBC logo reflects the old guard meeting the new generation though, at the time, the former had never heard of the latter. Not even six years later, Pharrell and Murakami created a collaborative artwork.
16. The Meaning behind the Moncler
In 2022, Moncler is a collaborative machine, bringing nearly every relevant contemporary designer under its wing as part of its Genius line. In 2010, Moncler was a more conventional top-shelf Italian outerwear brand but CEO Remo Ruffini was as tapped-in then as he is now.
In summer 2010, Ruffini brought in Pharrell for a very limited Moncler collaboration that launched at tastemaking boutique colette, the same place that hosted the launch of Pharrell x Chanel.
This particular vest is a perfect example of that concise collection. Like the rest of the garments, it was made of fabric produced by Bionic, an engineering company that turns plastic from the ocean and into traceable textiles — Pharrell has held a stake in Bionic for years and occasionally incorporates its materials in his own ventures, like a line of BBC Bee Line Timberland boots.
Pharrell also reshaped the Moncler puffer into a bulletproof vest, though his intent was to reflect pacifism rather than militaria. Inside, a special “Dark Forest” print devised by Japanese photographer Keita Sugiura. The connection? Sugiura’s resume includes a couple exhibits at Kaikai Kiki, the gallery owned by Takashi Murakami.