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How Beyonce, JAY-Z, Migos And Drake Made Their Tour Stages Fashion Runways, Too

Stylists and designers talk about creating for On the Run II and Drake and the Three Migos tours.

Stylists and designers talk about creating for On the Run II and Drake and the Three Migos tours.

 

New York-based designer LaQuan Smith and his team had been working diligently, sketching, ideating, revising and tweaking a project for arguably the biggest singer of this generation. In most cases when this level of effort is put in, confirmation that his clients are satisfied comes before their big reveal.

But this was Beyoncé. And the clothes were for her forthcoming On the Run II Tour, the sequel to the international trek with her rap superstar husband JAY-Z. Queen Bey is notorious for her meticulousness in the industry. Those who work with her—be it producing tracks for her multi-platinum albums or costuming for sold-out concerts—don’t know their work has made it until she is wearing the clothes or they hear their song playing on a streaming service.

“I found out on Instagram,” Smith says. On June 6 in Cardiff, the capital of United Kingdom’s Wales, Beyoncé opened OTR2 hand-in-hand with hubby, wearing a shimmering sheer bodysuit, evening jacket, and mesh mask. Fans of hers that were also familiar with LaQuan’s work immediately saw images of Beyoncé popping up in their social media feeds and tagged him with questions.

 

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Beyonce looking stunning in custom #laquansmith for the opening look of OTRT II

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“It was a huge surprise,” he says. “People were @ing me on Instagram. I guess my fan base on social media just knows my work. People tagged me like, ‘Is this LaQuan Smith?’ I was freaking out.” He’s been outfitting Beyoncé for almost four years (she wore a black LS dress to present Colin Kaepernick with Sports Illustrated’s Person of the Year Award in December), but this too was huge.

“I didn’t know it was going to be that major," he exclaims. "To know that I was the first designer for the first night kicking off On the Run II? Whoa! Come on, that’s hot. I’m very humble about mines but damn! That’s black excellence putting a designer of color on the forefront. I’m sure that was strategic placement on her part. That meant something to me.”

Smith’s look perfectly fit the show’s fugitive lovers storyline, as portrayed during movie shorts shot in Jamaica earlier this year. Guns and lingerie, kisses and motorcycle rides, and vignettes of nuptials and bedroom romps all peppered the screen. At the Rose Bowl stadium in Los Angeles, Beyoncé was, at times, a badass and an empress. JAY was a gangster whilst exuding a regal mood, rocking looks that ranged from a black Gucci jacket with tuxedo pants to a mock bulletproof vest worn during “99 Problems.”

Givenchy’s Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller created a double-breasted white tuxedo and silk tee from their Spring/Summer 2018 Men’s Haute Couture collection for JAY-Z’s opener with Smith’s fit. (The Parisian house also laced Beyoncé with a black bodysuit and detachable skirt with hand-embroidered crystals from their Fall/Winter 2018 Women’s ready-to-wear collection.)

“I’m just a huge fan of unapologetic glamour,” Smith says. “Mixing this New York nasty, edgy lifestyle with a sexy elegant vibe. It’s a juxtaposition of the two.” So was the tour’s overall costuming, and he needed to serve that mood while making his piece one that would be spectacular under beaming stage lights.

“There’s a difference between music video wardrobe and stage performance wardrobe. Movement and lighting have to be taken into account. Something could look extraordinarily amazing on the body and might not transform on stage. The fabric might be too matte or not reflect enough. Little things."

Stylist Zoe Costello agrees with the sentiment. Those seeing Migos on the road lately can spot them from the cheapest seats in any house. Among her various celeb clients, Costello’s handled the trio’s looks for magazine covers, red carpets and concert costuming. She’s currently responsible for the pieces they’re sporting on their national Drake & the Three Migos run. “For performances, I usually like to go with a theme or draw inspiration from their videos or trends they have been into recently and build from there,” she says. “Migos like to experiment and have fun with performance looks and fashion.”

She explains that during her nearly two years with the Atlanta rap set, she’s had several conversations about their love for Michael Jackson’s style (“Especially Offset.”). But for the tour, Quavo brought up a hip-hop icon for style inspiration: Puff Daddy.

 

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“Quavo mentioned Diddy and Ma$e,” Costello says, bringing to the pair’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems” and “Feel So Good” ‘90s Hype Williams-directed videos to mind. “He wanted jumpsuits.”

Costello's research brought her to British designer Vivienne Westwood’s decades-old parachute shirts, which became reference points and then she experimented with the idea of adding 3M reflective strips, reaching out to Tripp NYC designer Daang Goodman to execute the look. “It’s about finding the right designer that can execute the look that I’m going for," she says.

As defined on their 3M's site, “3M Scotchlite Reflective Material helps enhance the visibility of the wearer in nighttime or low-light conditions when illuminated by a light source such as headlights.” Perfect for any fan to see Migos run through “Bad and Boujee,” even from the nosebleeds.

Throughout their U.S. run, the result of Costello and Daang’s collaboration is visible from near and far. At Los Angeles’ The Forum, Offset wore his jumpsuit in yellow, Quavo donned red and Takeoff green. It’s this era’s shiny suit vibe, arguably with more jewelry. The drip was insane. As they performed smashes like “Fight Night,” images of flowers, doves and luxury cars popped on center-stage cubes while pyro flamed up from each corner. “For Migos, I wanted to make something that would stand up to their incredible magnitude and awesome energy,” Goodman, who even kitted out their record spinner DJ Durel, says.

 

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New skins no Fortnite

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By contrast, Drake’s looks are a bit simpler. However, that doesn't mean they're not as intricate. Though most associated with his style and costuming bunch chose to keep their lips sealed for this story, his team confirms that their in-house collective created custom snakeskin OVO vests, along with custom stage technical pants, and a one-of-one pair of "custom Nikes engineered for stage use.” One vest featured a scorpion on the back, a play off his hit summer ’18 album. Drizzy seemed to let the stage—an intricate digital display projected under his feet—make grander statements. Sometimes his steps glowed in “Billie Jean"-like fashion, another time it turned into a basketball court (at The Forum, a fan hit a three-pointer, winning cash and an OVO Nike jersey.)

Marquee clothing brands and looks from Calvin Klein and 8 MONCLER PALM ANGELS are worn by Migos during their return on stage during Drake’s set. “I would brief each designer and work with them on ensuring the colors would stand out well on stage and be cohesive together so they look like a group,“ Costello says. “But each has their own individuality.” Sneakers from Balenciaga, Maison Margiela, and Chanel decorate their feet.

 

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Every time I come around ya city...

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At the now completed On the Run II Tour, major couture houses like Versace (used during the couple’s “Young Forever” Rose Bowl close), Balmain, and Burberry wowed on stage. However, indie brands like LaQuan Smith and Migos’ use of Tripp NYC remind us that looks that pack a punch don’t only come from European fashion titans.

The attention Smith earns from boasting Beyoncé (in addition to Rihanna and Cardi B, among others) as a client means more potential customers inevitably knock on his door and visit his site. When they get there, though, they will not find replicas of the outfit he made for Bey.

“Absolutely not,” he says definitively. “That is for her. It is an iconic piece and moment. It can not be duplicated or reproduced. These are the types of moments that you just want to appreciate. If you mass produce everything you do for every celebrity, where’s the value and the appreciation of the exclusivity?”

Those who are bummed they won’t be able to slip in Bey’s OTR2 look for their bachelorette party or next trip to the club will be happy to learn that Smith is set to release an affordable concept collection with British retailer ASOS for both sexes and all sizes, out since Oct. 29. And his Fall/Winter 2018 line is currently available at Luisa Via Roma. The one-of-a-kind pieces may be unattainable, but everyone can get a piece from their favorite's go-to designer.

READ MORE: Review: 15 Thoughts On The Carters’ ‘On The Run’ Tour And Their Evolving PDA

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Princess Nokia And Scottie Beam Make Womanhood And Blackness Their Carbon Footprint

Princess Nokia and Scottie Beam have a lot in common. Unbeknownst to them, it has nothing to do with the Mario Badescu rosewater they use or their layered appreciation for hip-hop and rap. It’s The North Face copper 1996 Nuptse Jacket both women wear on stage during their conversation at the brand’s Brooklyn, NY store. Known for enhancing properties, copper takes a spiritual role as a conductor in the exchange of energies between the women.

Working in a complicated music industry hasn’t forced them to adapt to the ways of the world around them. Instead, Nokia and Scottie decide to make the mission of womanhood and blackness their carbon footprint.

Those elements and many more flood their conversation at The North Face Prototype store last week, where Scottie (co-host of Black Girl Podcast and Revolt’s State of The Culture) hosted a talk with Nokia, who partnered with the brand for their campaign, The New Explorers, an ode to those who inspire the spirit of curiosity. Their convo was anything but surface level. Tales of doubt, free will and growth led the discussion, which Nokia, an artist and poet who transcended genres with her gothic-metal A Girl Cried Red project this year, knew all too well.

“I had a misconception of hip-hop and rap with my writing style,” she said of her early days under the moniker Wavy Spice. “I had been introduced to rapping in a way where women and people did it, it was structured. It had this very very political structure to it and if you didn't follow the structure, you weren't considered validated or real and that just gave me anxiety. I couldn't rap, I couldn't freestyle and I wasn't comfortable rapping or certain things of that nature. So this time around, I really wanted to change that and I realized that doubts are an illusion. I saw that the art was in the simplicity of what I was writing and it didn't have to rhyme, it didn't have to have double entendres.”

With constant gratitude for our African ancestors, the Bruja had her best year yet with a tantalizing set at Coachella, the aforementioned goth mixtape and completed a sold-out 1992 Deluxe World tour. For Scottie, the verbal warrior has worked hard in 2018 to make sure black and brown women are seen on a variety of platforms. This includes her work with BGP and State of The Union. “I've learned that transitioning is real,” she said of her year. “It's heavy and I think this was my biggest transition year in terms of becoming a woman and stepping into womanhood, facing acceptance and feeling seen.”

In addition to the exchange of stories about their spiritual journeys, they also opened up to the audience, something rarely seen in industry events. Nokia, a proud Afro-Latina, shares literature like In The Time of Butterflies by Julia Alvarez and The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran with a biracial butterfly looking for more inspiration around her racial identity. Meanwhile, Scottie takes on a question about colorism, telling the black men in the room to take accountability for assisting in the problematic battle of light skin/dark skin preferences.

Just before the creatives took the stage, VIBE chatted with them about their organic connection to the brand, lessons learned in 2018 and the beauty of womanhood.

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I am still getting beautiful stories & compliments from the dialogue I had with my soul sister @princessnokia! Thanks to @thenorthface, I got to speak to Destiny about intersectional Feminism, spirituality, colorism, experimenting with old and new music & more. Destiny is the light that we need in music. Her wisdom speaks volumes about the woman she is becoming. I am so happy people got to see a preview of that on this day. Thank you for being so open and honest with me @princessnokia. 📸: @raptographer

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As New Yorkers, we all have a definitive North Face moment. What are yours?

Scottie Beam: I would say the fanny pack was huge during my era–

Princess Nokia: My sister had one too, and I wanted it!

SB: That was a moment, that was my bookbag.

Me too, me too! I remember it made my butt look big.

SB: I don't remember the name of the coat but it had the pockets this way [high pockets]. I don't remember the name of the style, but that was my s**t, it had a belt too.

PN: It's a little different for me. I actually didn't own any North Face until I was 18 and the first one I had was a gorgeous Blue Extreme and I loved it. Me and my ex-boyfriend we wrote a song called "Sleep Tech" and that was my North Face moment [Laughs].

How was it to hear North Face wanted you both for The New Explorers campaign?

SB: It was an amazing opportunity. They know I'm super transparent. I think that's why they called me because they knew I'd have a real conversation with Princess Nokia because I've watched her since the beginning when I was at Hot 97. I think it's very important because it's going to be a good conversation and we won’t censor anything.

PN: I model a lot and I'm very fortunate and blessed to be able to do as many partnerships I do for an underground musician such as myself. I gotta say I thought it was super dope they hit me since it's super New York and super nostalgic to my childhood. So I just felt super cool about it since I'm a New York girl.

So "Never stop exploring" is the mantra. What's something you've learned about yourself this year?

PN: I've learned nothing can ever break me. I truly have a lot of faith in the universe even when I'm down, I'm always good.

SB: I've learned that transitioning is real. It's heavy and I think this was my biggest transition year in terms of becoming a woman and stepping into womanhood, facing acceptance and feeling seen. I think that was a big, big thing for me this year. It was problematic, but it was helpful.

How would you define your 2018?

PN: A lot of work, a lot of traveling, a lot of blessings and always having fun and doing something for me. I did Coachella this year and I'm not even signed to a 360! Someone said I f**ked someone to get there. I said, "Oh my god, I wish that was true. I'd love to talk to about it." I'm so crazy, you would've known it.

I'm oblivious, I'm not into politics in hip-hop. I'm so outside of it and don't listen to what people say so when I actually heard someone say they were so upset I did Coachella, I thought, “Wow, I never thought people would think that.” I thought it was so funny so I had to tell myself, “Girl, don't be so oblivious.” I wanted to tell her that I played another festival and got booked by the people who put together Coachella and I was the breakout performance of the night so the next day they invited me a year early to play Coachella.

SB: But you deserved to be there.

I saw you at Day for Night last year and you killed it.

PN: I did perform there. Can you imagine if I was f**king that Republican? Oh my gosh. [Laughs.]

SB: I would say a lot. Period. I increased my therapy because the show was a lot, but it was good because I got more exposure by speaking to black women and speaking to more dark skin women and underrepresented groups. It really helped but it did hurt since I didn't know how many people were oblivious to certain social issues and that drove me up a f**king wall. But it's growing pains, and as someone who is super passionate, it was a lot.

Learn more about The North Face’s Copper collection here.

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Stephen Curry Inspired By 9-Year-Old To Provide Curry 6 Shoes For Girls

Proving to be more than just an expert shooter from the free-throw line, Stephen Curry has managed to do right by the majority of the people in his life, including a young girl he's never met.

After receiving a handwritten letter from 9-year-old Riley Morrison, the precocious kid pointed out one minor issue with the Golden State Warrior's latest Curry 5 shoes — the sneakers were not manufactured in girls' shoe sizes.

hey @stephencurry30 can u help? pic.twitter.com/3jwuEc776B

— Liz Plank (@feministabulous) November 26, 2018

"My dad and I visited the Under Armour website and were disappointed to see that there were no Curry 5s for sale under the girl's section," the aspiring basketball player wrote.

Quickly swooping in for the save, the 30-year-old athlete responded with a written note, saying, "I appreciate your concern and have spent the last 2 days talking to Under Armour about how we can fix the issue." Continuing the letter, the father-of-three went on to say, "I am going to send you the Curry 5's now and you will be the first kid to get the Curry 6."

pic.twitter.com/2Yhz69rysE

— gu-c (@guchawney) November 29, 2018

In a statement to VIBE, Dean Stoyer, VP, Global Brand Communications for Under Armour explained the shoes were intended to be worn by girls and boys.

"Thanks to Riley and Stephen, we’re correcting a simple yet critical error. We’ve actually offered Curry signature footwear in youth sizing for boys and girls since the initial Curry 1; however, labeling that youth sizing for “Boys” and not designating for boys and girls, was simply wrong," he said. "Beginning now and moving forward our youth sizes will be properly labeled on UA.com to reflect co-gender “Grade School” sizing, and on boxes beginning with the first youth sizes of the Curry 6 delivering this spring."

Working diligently to correct the mistake, Curry proceeded to invite the young fan to an event for International Women's Day in March.

Looks like everyone wins, including Riley and girls all over the nation.

READ MORE: Stephen Curry And Viola Davis To Executive Produce 'Emanuel' Doc On Church Shooting

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Eowwww: Cardi B's Fashion Nova Line Sold Out In A Few Hours

From becoming a first-time mother to scoring two more number one songs and a number one album this year alone, can Cardi B's 2018 get any better? Turns out it actually can.

According to Fashion Nova's Twitter page, their FNxCARDI line (a collaborative collection between the online fashion boutique and the Invasion of Privacy rapper) sold out around 3 a.m. ET, meaning it took just a few hours for every piece in the line to sell out.

On the website, eager shoppers were able to choose from 82 pieces on two full pages worth of fashion. Prices for the FNxCardi line ranged from a $12.99 bandeau top to jackets and coats priced at $199.99. The line also features shoes, tops, matching sets, and minidresses.

“I hope you guys enjoy my line, it’s very high-end kind of," Cardi said in an Instagram video about her new line. "I wanted to do something that is like ‘wow, what is that? Is that Chanel? Is that YSL? is that Gucci? No, bi**h, it’s Fashion Nova by Bardi.” The MC held a party in Los Angeles for the release of the line, where she also performed a few of her most popular songs.

While some FN shoppers were fans of the line, others voiced their disappointment with the items in the collection. Take a look at some of the reactions to the sold-out line below.

READ MORE: Cardi B Doesn't Give A F**k, And Neither Should You (Digital Cover)

I just drop my BOLLECTION ...Go CHECK and BUY NOW ON https://t.co/IxVFh63cML pic.twitter.com/Oa0QqCAhVq

— iamcardib (@iamcardib) November 15, 2018

SO MUCH IS SELLING OUT INSTANTLY! The clothes is so pretty! Damn CARDI did that!!!!!!!! 😍😍😍 #FNXCARDI #CardixFashionNova

— кιωι ♡ (@StephyNotNice) November 15, 2018

it’s currently 1:25 am, i have work in the morning & i’ve been anticipating this clothing collab/line for legit over a month. there were literally only 87 pieces that i seen and damn near all of them were ugly & overpriced. my heart legit hurts rn.. #FNxCardi

— amanda 🖤 (@amandamarie_97) November 15, 2018

READ MORE: Cardi B Reveals Release Date For Fashion Nova Collection

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