The seeds of Lu’s challenge fell into fertile soil in 2012, when she landed a position with the P.R. office at Pharrell’s streetwear label Billionaire Boys Club. A shy manner addict who grew up in the Midwest, Lu registered a form of cosmic kinship with Pharrell one particular day when they had been both equally sporting matching Céline slip-ons. “She experienced this amazing electricity that would appear via in the stuff she wore and how she assumed. We just promptly had a connection,” Pharrell claims. He hired her to be his assistant and stylist before long after.
Lu’s pals nearly exclusively refer to her as Cactus or Plant. (She declined to be interviewed for this story, letting her friends—and the clothes—do the talking.) As Pharrell tells it, the nickname felt like future: “Cynthia is a stunning title, but when we had been doing work collectively I was like, ‘Man, this won’t truly match you. It places a lid on your power.’ ” Then Lu informed him that she’d been teased with the identify Cactus at a prior job, following she adopted an undesirable prickly plant. “I was like, ‘That’s it,’ ” Pharrell states. “ ‘You’re Cactus. You happen to be brief, you might be sharp, and you are not quick to contact. And in the driest of periods, you are the a person with the water.’ ”
Lu’s better contacting was uncovered when she began developing dresses for Pharrell, re-generating vintage items she would discover in Parisian flea markets. “I was like, ‘Man, you want to be performing this. Like, this is your factor,’ ” Pharrell recollects of her early creations. She started experimenting with her personal label on the aspect, making personalized sweatbands emblazoned with her new brand name—a synthesis of her moniker and the location where by she identified her eccentric and odd inspiration—and Comme des Garçons-influenced graphic tees, printed on Hanes x Supreme blanks, that she would mail to mates. Then, in June of 2015, when Pharrell was accepting his CFDA Style Icon award, he shut his speech by telling his “genius assistant Cactus” to “listen to your instincts.” In accordance to those people near to Lu, that was when the manufacturer really crystallized. She listened to her instincts and hardly ever looked back again.
Lu has maintained a amount of anonymity that would make Martin Margiela jealous. A impressive feat, taking into consideration she is nonetheless Pharrell’s stylist and, pandemic notwithstanding, is usually hiding in simple sight at occasions amongst all the world’s coolest musicians, athletes, designers, and stylists.