After a tour postponement due to her first pregnancy and a name change from Unbreakable, Janet Jackson is back on the road with her State of the World tour and as expected, is bringing fabulous fashion to the stage.
Stylist and costume designer Robert Behar is the man behind the costumes, responsible for curating looks for Janet and her eight dancers on tour (a process which started 4 months prior to rehearsals and production of the show, by the way).
“Janet is involved in the entire creative process. Her inspiration and knowledge of what she wants to do is so great and she’s there for every single one of the dancers’ fittings,” Behar told Billboard Style. “She’s very hands on but in a kind and generous way, so it’s amazing to work with her.”
We caught up with Behar to talk about the most important elements of the pop icon’s looks and why working with Jackson is unlike working with anybody else.
When did you first begin working with Janet?
August 2005. We did the Kids’ Choice Awards and the GLAAD Awards.
What is special about dressing Janet for tour vs. dressing other artists?
Well, it’s Janet. [laughs] That’s all I can say about that, seriously. She’s kind, she’s very understanding; beautiful. And she’s very on top of everything, so she knows what she wants. She makes your approach to it very easy, and she gives you all the tools you need to create for her. Janet is Janet!
What’s your main source of inspiration when designing tour costumes or pulling pieces for her?
We always draw from fashion, from what’s in the moment and what’s coming next. We drew a lot of inspiration from Rick Owens and Haider Ackermann for this tour. And when we pull, I think Janet’s smile and eyes is always something that we need to accentuate, so I draw to that.
Theme for Janet’s outfits for this tour?
We actually tried to do things that she can change into very easily. As we all know, she dances two hours straight pretty much, so she needs to be able to change quickly and needs things that are comfortable for her. If you see the show you’ll see that’s what we did, which is fun.
Most important elements of Janet’s tour outfits?
Ease for a dancer and a great aesthetic. Aesthetic is always very important, it’s not left behind because we want it to be comfortable. It comes down to elegance, practicality, and speed. So instead of spending her time changing clothes, she can rest.
Is everything custom-made?
Yes. For this tour we participated for one segment with Fear of God designer Jerry [Lorenzo]. He did a whole section which was really a lot of fun. Christian Louboutin and Rick Owens did Janet’s shoes, and the Louboutin denim boots she wears at the end [of the show] were made especially for her.