Grammy season is known as a fun time to take risks and hit the red carpet in your absolute best — whether over-the-top couture or understated glam — and stylists like Ade Samuel help curate looks for celebs to create memorable event style moments.
Samuel, a magazine industry veteran and shoe designer, has worked with diverse high-profile stars from Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Kelly Rowland to Monica, Christina Aguilera, Miley Cyrus, Yara Shahidi, Jhene Aiko and Nicole Richie. Now, she’s bringing her talents to menswear to help Big Sean’s style match the evolution of his sound.
Billboard: What are the most important things that go into your creative process when styling different clients?
Ade Samuel: Well the first thing I like to do is speak with the client and kind of see what their vision is. You know, what are they thinking about for this specific event? What are they thinking for the overall look of where they want to go… and then from there I start to put a list together of designers I’ve worked with in the past who I think will fit the aesthetic for the client, and after that we do our fitting. It’s very collaborative. I really like to keep my clients involved in what I’m doing, what’s coming in and what people are saying about them and just build from their comfortability level. So typically, when I speak to them they tell me what they’re comfortable with and from there I suggest what I think we should do. I love to collaboratively open their mind on different silhouettes, different colors and different designers that may work for them.
Is there any huge difference you’ve noticed between dressing your female clients vs. your male clients like Big Sean?
The fun thing about dressing a male is figuring out different silhouettes. When you think of menswear, it’s very, very you know… a suit, pants and a top. There’s kind of a traditional standard silhouette that goes for men, its usually like a blazer and pants or a suit for a formal event.
I love to plan for women. You can do a cocktail, you can do a gown, or a pants suit. So the challenging part is being able to style and actually create different silhouettes on a male body, that’s the immediate difference between styling a woman and a man. With women you have more room to play because there’s more options. The biggest challenge is to figure out what works best for men, what could be fresh, and what new and innovative silhouettes and colors can be used.
So for this year’s Grammys how many looks is Sean wearing?
We’ve picked five looks for him for the different events as well as the main attraction. We’re playing with Ferragamo, Zegna, Pyer Moss and Vivienne Westwood, and he’ll be wearing Ferragamo on the carpet.
For other events that he’s attending, we have the contemporary cool brands that are new and fresh. One that I specifically love is Pyer Moss, a young black boy from New York. I’m very cautious about those things as well, how we can build with Sean from new designers; people who are not up there with everyone else, but who are on our list as big designers and have amazing things. That’s always what I’m looking for.
Over the course of time that you’ve been working with Sean, are there any particular styles you’ve noticed he tends to gravitate toward?
Specifically with Sean, he’s so open to playing with different silhouettes and different designers. His mind and creativity in fashion is so broad and that’s the beauty of working with him — he doesn’t stick to one silhouette or one designer or one idea. He’s very open and I love that about him.
There are moments where we’re full on suited and then there’s moments where he wants to represent who he is — a guy from Detroit. Basically, he likes to work together with his fans and makes sure that he can always connect with them.
Is there anything that excites you about styling for the Grammys specifically?
The good thing about the Grammys is it’s all about having fun.
That’s what I hear!
So you know, when working with Sean and going into our second year of doing this, I think the biggest thing we look at is how we’re going to have fun but reinvent what we’ve already been doing. It’s about the growth — where we were then and where we are now.
With that being said, what was the inspiration for his Grammy Awards look tonight?
This year I think it was really the grown-up Sean. With his album coming out, this is the year of evolution — of his music and of his style. It has been very transparent from what we did in Paris and what we did last year with Jeremy Scott and Moschino and then coming into this year… the evolution. It’s really just paying attention to how important the Grammy’s is to not only his style but also the evolution of his music.