June Ambrose talked to ESSENCE’s Yes, Girl! hosts about her initial juncture into styling and what set her apart from the rest.
“When I went in, starting to work with artists, I came in as an artist,” she said. “If you know you’re a star, you don’t ever let anyone dim that because you have to service someone. It wasn’t an easy dynamic… but I wont apologize. I’m not going to apologize for being who I am. What I am gonna help you do is feel this kind of light.”
That sense of character and work ethic is what gave her the freedom to come up with the iconic visuals for Hype Williams’ Belly, Missy Elliot’s “The Rain” music video and —a favorite— Bad Boy classic, “Mo Money, Mo Problems”.
The 1997 single off Notorious B.I.G.’s Life After Death album was a standout video because of the hilarious antics in the video but also the fashion. Vibrant and glamorous, Ambrose’s most iconic look from the music video were the metallic suits worn by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs and Mase.
“I’m from the Caribbean, so metallics and carnival were my inspiration,” Ambrose told Fader about choosing the suits.
“Also, the treatment [of the video] inspired it. I saw how Hype [Williams] was shooting—it was flames and fire. I didn’t want to just use a flat, red leather. I wanted to go with something that was a little more futuristic and out of this world. I stayed in the same silhouette because I was doing something so jarring. Putting a rapper in a red shiny suit was probably the biggest faux pas at the time. But I was really big on roleplaying and the history of me as a stylist is to always challenge the stereotypes of the genre.”
Hear more of Ambrose’s iconic styling stories and what she’s currently working on in the latest Yes, Girl! episode. Subscribe (for free) to hear all of amazing podcasts.