Ryan Leslie’s Blog: 5 Elements Of My On-Stage Style
After releasing two albums in 2009, I have good reason to stay on the road. I like to put on a show that’s full of raw energy & my style on stage reflects that desire. The piece we’ve cut called ‘Concert’ was taken from my performance this year at Mount Saint Mary College and features the following:
1. A black tank top from American Apparel – This is the cornerstone of my stage outfit. Simple and functional, I usually shed whatever jacket and shirt I’m wearing and close out the show in the tank.
2. A pair of dark grey moto-inspired jeans from Balmain Homme – I picked these up while in Paris on tour supporting Ne-yo. This is a piece that I challenge you to find another artist wearing. Balmain’s exclusivity extends far beyond the price point of the garment. The fashion house usually only makes one size of each design.
3. A pair of boots from All Saints Spitalfield – I stocked up on these while in the UK on my past European tour. Rugged and sturdy, I appreciate that All Saints has yet to open a NY retail outlet that stocks men’s apparel, resulting in all the more exclusivity.
4. A wallet chain with woven leather detail from Gucci – I noticed this piece on the runway last year when Gucci showed its Fall/Winter collection. Knowing that many runway accessories often never make it to retail, I put in a call to Michael McCabe at Gucci 5th Avenue who was kind enough to make a special effort to locate one for me. This piece works better than a necklace for me as I often lean into the audience, prompting them to reach for whatever I’m wearing on my neck. I’ve been fortunate to have always had my chains returned (even broken in some cases). I learned my lesson though, and stopped wearing them in favor of the wallet chain.
5. A custom ‘R’ signet ring – I commissioned Lizzie Mandler (the sister of Anthony Mandler, who directed my “You’re Not My Girl” music video) to make this ring for me out of 22K gold and black diamonds. I modeled this piece after a similar ‘D’ signet ring I’d received as a gift from Dean and Dan from DSquared2. Depending on what I’m feeling for the show, I sometimes swap the ring for a pair of custom fingerless leather perforated gloves I acquired while playing a James Bond character for a photo shoot.
Special thanks to Evan Rogers and Aram Bedrossian for realizing this visual art project with me for VIBE. More creativity on the way.