Singer’s Vivienne Westwood Buffalo hat will be shown as an ‘example of the impact of social media today’
Pharrell Williams’ huge hat is headed to a museum. Six months after the singer’s Vivienne Westwood chapeau eclipsed his appearance at the 2014 Grammys, that same brown cap will be honoured in a new exhibition at Washington DC’s Newseum.
Williams’ happy hat will be on show from 21 August to 26 October, according to the museum’s website. Unfortunately the exhibit is not a tribute to the state of modern millinery: instead, the Newseum’s curators were drawn to the way Williams’s comically large Buffalo topper came to sit at an intersection of news, celebrity and social media.
“Pharrell’s hat … will serve as a great example of the impact of social media today,” Scott Williams, the Newseum’s senior vice president of marketing, told the Washington Post. “[All] the stories visitors experience in the Newseum illustrate historic and contemporary moments as seen through the eyes of the media.”
Despite the Newseum’s interest in the artifact, they have not formally acquired Williams’ hat. Instead, it has been loaned to them by the American sandwich chain Arby’s, who paid $44,100 (£26,500) for it, in a charity auction earlier this year. Through canny use of social media, Arby’s became major beneficiaries of Williams’ meme moment: as Grammy viewers began tweeting about the hat, the company was quick to point out its resemblance to their logo.
Williams himself bought the hat about five years ago, paying £95. “You just never know [with] these things,” he told Power 106 in February. “I was just wearing a hat … Some people like it and some people are like ‘what is that?’. But at the end of the day, I sleep good, I rest good knowing that it’s just me expressing myself.”
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