Big Sean is more known for his signature vintage concert tees than his red carpet suits. He told Billboard of the collection he’s been amassing since 2012, “Other rappers might rock Wu-Tang shirts, but you’ll never see them rocking a Waiting to Exhale tee.” Sartorial expectations might soar, though, after his appearance at the Grammys last night in a white Ermenegildo Zegna contrast lapel jacket. Though he lost the best rap/sung collaboration category to Kendrick Lamar, he was still one of the red carpet’s winners — which is why Billboard spoke to his stylist, Ade Samuel, about the look.
What was inspiration for Sean’s look?
I was inspired by so many things, but mainly I wanted something with ease but still sharp and stylish for him. I drew references for the look from Al Pacino’s famous character Tony Montana in Scarface, adding a shirt with a bigger collar to a jacket with a smaller lapel and leaving the shirt opened to give character to the outfit. I feel like with the Grammys you can always have a little fun while being formal.
Was he receptive to the idea?
It’s always a collaborative process when choosing a look for an award show with a client. What’s nice with Sean is that he was open to the idea of the white on white with the contrast black tux pants because it was a direction with suiting that he has not done yet. And because he understands fashion it was no convincing him. Once we tried the suit and noticed it was a moment because it fit him nicely and the color was perfect for his tone, we immediately knew this would be the one.
What is it about Sean’s style that you knew this look would work on him?
I like the ease of Sean’s natural style, you can always tell by his off-the-carpet looks that he understands how to play with clothes and likes to take risks. So I knew he would be open to trying something fresh at the Grammys.
Tell us about the accessories.
The shoes were the first accessory I chose to complete the look, before deciding on the direction for jewelry. I find it to be a better technique as a stylist to start there. In this case, we chose a black patent leather loafer from Giuseppe Zanotti with gold detailing. With that color scheme, we went with gold tones for jewelry to give the suit that final touch of glam. He was wearing earrings and rings by Neil Lane, bracelet by Jason of Beverly Hills, and a watch from Rolex.
I think it’s the simplicity and sharpness of white jackets that makes them so chic and classic. A white jacket can wake up any look. For Sean, the idea of the white blazer and shirt with contrasting black pants was to bring life to a formal tuxedo look by adding an element that stands out from the rest, hence eliminating a standard tie and keeping the shirt a bit undone.