Remember the black garbage bag Missy Elliott rocked in her video for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”Â or the red shiny suits worn by Puffy and Mase in the “Mo Money, Mo Problems”Â video? Now meet the woman behind both those looks — celebrity fashion stylist and designer, June Ambrose. Ambrose has shaped the style of some of the biggest names in music including Jay-Z, Busta Rhymes, Nas, and Mary J. Blige. In her new book, Effortless Style, she reveals the industry secrets that can help anyone exude genuine star power, regardless of body type or budget. Most recently, Ambrose designed the outfits for Mariah Carey’s “Adventures of Mimi” Tour. Rap-Up spoke with the style architect about her creations for Mariah, whose tour ends October 28 in Hong Kong. Read a more in-depth profile on Ambrose in the Fall 06 issue of Rap-Up, on sale this November.
How much creative freedom did you get designing for Mariah on her tour?
A lot of creative freedom, actually. Mariah and I sat down in the earlier parts of the tour and started going through song lists. Having worked on music videos with her before and dealing with her on personal stuff, I kind of know what would be a stretch for her and what could make a really great impression.
What sort of theme were you going for?
My objective was to design for an R&B, pop, hip-hop musical with elements of street, Broadway cabaret, and a little bit of that pop girl kind of stuff. The show is supposed to be like all these different sides of her, marrying the three things for “The Adventures of Mimi.”Â So you see sultry, demure, and all these different things that she goes through. But things change. When you look at a tour from the top of it, it’s very big. When you start running the show, it scales down tremendously and people make changes. But it’s done.
When you style for Mariah, is there any such thing as being over the top?
I’m really big at not compromising a person’s self. I worked with her on this album for The Emancipation of Mimi, all of her early promo, the morning shows, and all that. She rendered herself to me where she allowed me to show her other sides and other options of sexy. [The media] called it a makeover, but we played around with a lot of different things and had what we called “moments.”Â Whether someone sticks to those moments is another thing, but it was right for the times for when we did it.