Cardi B's Stylist on What It's Like Collaborating With the Rapper on Her Iconic Looks (Exclusive)
By Amy Lee
Cardi B's stylist is opening up about collaborating with the rapper.
Kollin Carter, who has been dressing Cardi before her hit single, "Bodak Yellow," catapulted her to stardom two years ago, has been responsible for the rapper's many jaw-dropping red carpet looks that have already gone down in pop culture history.
The stylist extraordinaire does not play when it comes to fashion (with a capital F, people) and he spoke on his career at the Respect the Process event presented by Creative Jenius Report at Room Service at the Beverly Center on Monday (Cardi was there to support!), and ET spoke with Carter following the talk.
Ahead, read on to hear what Carter had to say about working with Cardi, her recent lime green BET Awards look, his favorite memory with the rapper and the styling essentials he depends on for any red carpet mishaps.
ET: What is the collaboration process like with Cardi when styling her?
Kollin Carter: I feel like it’s one of those things where we really understand one another. And sometimes I’ll push a bit or she’ll push when it comes to ideas, like, she’ll be down to do something but maybe a little hesitant or, like, she’ll bring something to me, like, I wanna do this and it’s like, "Uh, I don’t know, I don’t think we should do that." And then you know, vice versa. It’s one of those things where it’s really like a conversation with no ego and it’s an honest conversation. We pull from a lot of things we’ve been inspired by in the past, the history of fashion. The collaboration process is really easy when it comes to her. We have our go-to designers, but we also love working with new designers, big or small, it doesn’t matter. Our collaboration processes are really fun and free because she allows everything to happen the way that it needs to, to create some kind of evolution or to leave a mark in fashion.
How did the recent lime green BET Awards dress designed by Nicolas Jebran come about? Did you approach him to create the gown?
In this case, I approached the designer. [Nicolas] Jebran has always been super, super, super amazing. He’s someone we’ve collaborated with in the past and I knew that I wanted something super detailed and really well-made and something unique for this night. And I knew most women would go simple and sexy. But we had a conversation where she asked, "Do you think this is too much for the BET Awards?" I’m just like, "I mean, we are camp," like even before the Met [Gala]. We’ve been camp.
I don’t mind a simple, minimal moment that’s amazing, but it’s like this is the lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with switching it up. You know, for the Billboard [Music Awards] we got to do something super sexy and cut-out, but I’m just like, let’s have fun. And I do feel like the green dress was pretty campy. It was pretty campy.
What is your favorite look you've styled so far?
I would have to say the Met for me and also the Mugler moment. That was really a big moment for me, like I spoke about last night, [I was] Googling high-fashion editorials years ago when I was a young teenager. Just seeing like Helmut Newton pop up and a lot of his references meant full circle, realizing in my early 20s like, oh wow, this is Mugler who, you know, in all of these Helmut Newton editorials, they did a lot of work together.
Just to have that full circle moment like, wow, I am going to Paris to look at the Mugler archives from 1995, like, I was five years old when it walked the runway. It was just a crazy, surreal moment for me like, wow, just kind of pinching myself. So I felt like that moment for me is kind of, like, burnt in my memory.
What is something people don't know about being a celebrity stylist?
People don’t know or understand how demanding it is. It’s super demanding, like whatever her schedule is, that’s my schedule. If she’s working on Mother’s Day, I’m not flying in to see my mom. She’s working on Thanksgiving or even the day after Thanksgiving, I’m prepping on Thanksgiving, me and my team were prepping. It’s one of those things where, like, when you have a client like her, you know everybody wishes and prays for, once you get it, you have to be ready for the worst because it can get super intense and when you’re prepping, you’re closing out a job, you're prepping a job, you look up and family members have grown up, your nieces and nephews. Everything is going by. And you’re constantly working, so I feel like people don’t really see the sacrifice in it, but I feel like if you play your cards right, it’s worth it in the end for sure.
What is the craziest memory you have with Cardi?
The day after the GRAMMYs, the day we had to soak in everything and celebrate, and then we got a call that morning like, she actually has three videos [to shoot] today. We were like, how?!
A lot of people don’t realize that a lot of it is problem-solving. Aesthetic is very important, but a lot of it is problem-solving and a lot of it is fixing the problem before it actually happens. I feel like it’s a lot of prevention. It’s a mind thing as well. You know, just kind of making miracles happen, so that’s what had to happen that day after the GRAMMYs. We were like, "We don’t have anything we need." We had to start market late.
What are some essentials you always keep in your styling kit?
Pasties, always. Double-sided tape, always. And a shoe grip. They use a plastic, circular, oval shape that sticks on the bottom of your shoes so you won’t slip.