Two-time nominee Andra Day may be a Grammy newcomer, but her refined retro style — which she rocked on the red carpet and in a stirring performance with Ellie Goulding — is hardly beginner grade. Billboard spoke to her stylist Wouri Vice, who has worked with Alicia Keys and Kerry Washington, about Day’s singular approach to fashion.
How would you define Andra’s style?
Basically really rockabilly. She wanted to bring that approach to a glamorous space. The question was, what would rockabilly look like [at the Grammys]? And that’s what we came up with.
Tell us about her looks.
Andra’s dress was custom Michael Costello, which she designed herself and the fur was Adrienne Landau. She and I had a conversation and I gave her the idea [of the look], and she went in for a fitting. She influenced the color selection and the hemline, which she wanted longer. She had a vision of what she wanted to look like. Lucille Ball was her inspiration, who had a major presence on the red carpet back in the day. She used that as her inspiration basically throughout the evening. For her performance she wore another Adrienne Landau fur that was custom designed and a jumpsuit that was also custom made by Julie Mollo.
Tell us a little about the collaboration process. Do you push her or does she push you?
I think we push each other. She’s very specific in her vision of what she wants to look like. There’s a lot of rockabilly and I try to take that and make it as modern and as fun as possible. That allows me to play with different textures and colors. So it’s a collaborative effort for sure, because she knows how she wants to see herself.
How did you know these looks would work for her?
For the red carpet, the classic hi-low mermaid silhouette at the bottom of the gown I knew was amazing. The structure within the shoulder at the top of the dress had a very 1940s & 50s regalness about it, and then when she chose that color, I knew that was going to be a hit right there. I knew it was going to be a standout color. When she decided to pair that with white fur, who else is going to do that? But I love the fact that she’s willing to take chances but it still has a classic approach to it. It’s something she can look back on in 10 years and say I definitely looked amazing and I did a great job of being me. Instead of looking at pictures and thinking, “What the hell was I wearing?”
Tell us about the red carpet accessories.
I loved the idea of how delicate yet present the Jacquie Aiche collection is. Although delicate and small, it has a presence, and that kind of reminds me of Andra. To me, that’s how she is. She’s like a delicate flower but she has detail to her, and if you pay attention to the details you’ll see the beauty of all of it. And within that, there’s also this statement to be made. With the bigness and fullness of the bottom of her dress, she needed statement jewelry. So, that’s where the David Yurman big ring came from and the big earrings.
What message did you want to convey on the red carpet with Andra’s look?
I think the message that was behind it was that a woman can still be fierce, still be savvy, and still have a sensuality about herself, and be completely clothed. I’m so over it, it’s like the misogyny of naked women right now is so ridiculous. Put some clothes on!
What was the getting ready process for both looks like? Was it calm or hectic?
Honestly, it was a little hectic. I’m trying to think about it because there were so many elements to getting ready for her performance. So, there was a little bit of calmness, there was a lot a prayer…a whole lot of prayer, because she was getting ready to perform and she had a little bit of laryngitis. For me personally, in that moment I was calm, my team was with me and we were ready to just do whatever we had to do to get her ready. It was weird too because they called her like 15 minutes early [because] her performance got bumped up. We had to get ready super quick. It was like alright we’re ready let’s go and it’s like “Throw the jacket on, wait tuck your arm in, let me pull the fur to the side!” It was hectic but it was good.