A History Of Pharrell Williams’ Vivienne Westwood Hat From 1982 – His ‘Marilyn Monroe’ Video

A History Of Pharrell Williams' Infamous Vivienne Westwood Hat


by Kate Lloyd |
Published on

The Buffalo hat, the sorting hat, or Woody from Toy Story's hat - call it what you like but we're all still talking about Pharrell Williams' Grammy Awards hat. Why? Well Pharrell just wore the hat in loads of different colours in his new video 'Marilyn Monroe'. There's a maroon number, a bold red look, and a beige one with a hole in it.

The hat's a remake of an '80s Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat. Speaking in a US radio interview, Pharrell said he wasn't deliberately trying to create a buzz when he first wore it to the Grammys.

"I was just wearing a hat," said Pharrell. "Some people like it and some people are like 'what is that?'. At the end of the day I feel good if I'm expressing myself."

Here's a condensed history of the hat.

1982: Vivienne Westwood

It first appeared in Vivienne Westwood's Autumn Winter 1982-83 collection called 'Buffalo Girls (Nostalgia of Mud)'. Vivienne said it was inspired by "Peruvian women wearing bowler hats and full skirts, dancing with their babies tied on their back."

The Buffalo hat was just one of a number of oversized hats Vivienne produced. There was a giant bowler the year before in the Savages collection. Here's a cream version of the hat (or a very similar style) on the runway that year..

1982: Malcolm McLaren

Malcolm McLaren - manager of the Sex Pistols - who was working with Vivienne at the time wore the hat in the video for hip hop single 'Buffalo Gals'.

As did his World Famous Supreme Team.


To coincide with the hats he invented a story about fashionable gangs of tribal people in 'the north' climbing over Hadrian's Wall to party in British nightclubs before disappearing in the morning. This appears to have involved silly string?!

The hats appeared in loads of breakdancing videos like 'Wild Style', 'Style Wars', and 'Beat Street' as well as Malcolm McLaren & The World's Famous Supreme Team's 'Buffalo Gals'. By donning the Buffalo with an Adidas track jacket Pharrell was giving a nod to the b-boys of yesteryear.

2009: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell bought the hat from Vivienne's original store World's End for £95. It's still available in 12 colour-ways. The first sighting of the hat came in July 2009 when he wore it at a party at London's Bathing Ape store. Clearly we were too distracted by the guy in the background's 'Ice Cream' cap to notice it.

2014: Pharrell Williams

He also tweeted a picture of it on January 20 this year. It showed him wearing it while watching his pal BMX.

Obviously, its real moment in the spotlight came at the Grammys a week later when it shocked Beyonce, spawned a million memes and got it's own Twitter account with nearly 20k followers.

2014: Diddy and Harley Viera-Newton

Pharrell wore it out again on a photoshoot in LA last week. Then Diddy met up with the rapper and borrowed it for a picture. Model Harley Viera-Newton followed suit sporting her dad's Buffalo hat and posting a picture on Instagram.

2014: Pharrell Williams

More than happy to join in with the Twitter jokes, Pharrell showed us what was under the extra-large hat in an Instagram video earlier this month. Answer: a TINY hat.

A twist in the tale. Pharrell was spotted out in London last night wearing the same hat... but this time it was GREY leaving us all asking the question - how many does he own?

2014: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell wasn't outdone when comedian Keith Lemon hit the Brit Award red carpet in a 'buffalo' hat. The singer donned his beloved hat to hit the stage with Nile Rodgers at the end of ceremony to perform 'Happy' and 'Get Lucky'.

2014: Pharrell Williams

Pharrell's auctioned the hat it off on eBay with 100% of the proceeds benefiting his charity 'From One Hand To AnOTHER' which raises funds to nurture children's learning through new technologies, arts and media.

Coming with a letter of authenticity, Pharrell originally posted the hat on the auction site for $200 and now it's going for more than $10,000!

'I’m auctioning off my hat from the Grammys to benefit From One Hand to AnOTHER,' he tweeted. 'We started my hat auction at $200 (the price I paid for it) and it's already up to over 10K?'

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