The Designer Behind NERVO's "In Your Arms" Music Video on Creating the Group's High-Fashion Vision

Nervo, "In Your Arms"
Courtesy Photo

Nervo, "In Your Arms"

Before NERVO's "In Your Arms," Michael Ngo made waves with his designs for Ariana Grande's Dangerous Woman.

Michael Ngo’s classmate predicted well when they voted him “Most Likely To Be Seen on a Runway.” Since then, after pursuing a career in dance, the San Jose, Calif., native focused his energy on fashion, becoming one of the pop world’s go-to designers for bold and sexy outfits, from superstars like Demi Lovato and Ariana Grande, to rising artists like Bebe Rexha and Natalie La Rose.

When NERVO, an Australian DJ duo made up of sisters Miriam and Olivia Nervo, were on the look-out for fashion designers for their “In Your Arms” music video, Ngo’s ambitious designs and moody aesthetic were a perfect fit for the band’s vision. Ngo, along with several other rising celebrity designers including Amato and Diana Putri, created the looks that gave NERVO’s music video a high-fashion feel. The designer talks to Billboard about collaborating with other designers, creating music video-ready outfits, and what NERVO’s music means to him.

Was this your first time designing for a music video?

No, I’ve done a couple custom designs for other artists as well, like Dawn Richard, Thalia, Ariana Grande, and Becky G to name a few -- and it’s always exciting because it’s a new vision each time.

 

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How many pieces did you for the video?

There were about eight looks [I created] -- five of them made it to the final cut. It's always about fit and, of course, what they have time to shoot. Sometimes looks get cut when time is short.

Did NERVO have any specific requests?

[My PR reps] said that NERVO would try on the looks and would either like it or not. The feedback was that they really loved everything that was styled for this music video because they had specific vision, and the stylists from my showroom listened, took direction, and landed the concept for the sisters.

How long did it take to put together the looks?

About a week – [creating the design concept], pre-production, fittings, any slight alterations, and then changes or tweaking the day of shoot.  Some projects take longer, and other times I have only one to three days [to complete the project].

Describe the collaborative process with other designers.

It’s always an amazing, but challenging experience. Different designers have different point-of-views, and their style or brand may be completely opposite. But the beauty of collaborating is the ability to mold your vision with your collaborator in order to produce a body of work that best represents both [designers]. My PR [team] was able to style this shoot and mesh us all well together, creating a cohesive vibe that looked great in the end.

How did you create looks that moved well for all the dancing in the music video?

I’m a former industry dancer -- in fact I’ve been a performer all my life, so I really understand that designing for performers and dancers not only have to be eye-catching, but have to made to allow movement. Fabrication is key for dance sequences, and luckily I love to work with a variety of stretch fabrics like lycra, performance spandex, and scuba. 

What is your favorite look from the video?

Definitely the Blackstone bodysuit -- it’s a signature MICHAEL NGO design!

Were you a fan of NERVO’s music before working on this project?

Of course! I was introduced to their song "Hold On" back in 2013 and their song "The Other Boys" off their last album is one of my heavy-rotation favorites. Also, Olivia and Miriam [Nervo] are a ton of fun to follow on social media.

What does this song mean to you since you’ve helped create the visuals for it?

Like every project involving creative intercourse, you can't help but feel a proud emotional connection to the work you produce on a team -- especially when you see the final product.

I've fallen even more in love with NERVO's "In Your Arms" seeing that I contributed my creativity to their vision. Having it immortalized in their video for the entire world to enjoy makes my heart dance!

Watch the "In Your Arms" video below.

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