Bronx-bred rapper Cardi B is a certified superstar. In just a few years, the New Yorker has gone from a social media sensation to a record-breaking Grammy winner sporting showstoppers from top European couture houses. Kollin Carter, the man behind Cardi’s extraordinary style, has been with her since the beginning.
First spotted beside the A-lister as she made the rounds during Fall 2017 New York Fashion Week, right around the time her hit single “Bodak Yellow” was climbing the charts, Carter has helped elevate his muse to icon status. The secret to their magical partnership? “Working with an artist who has vision,” Carter says. “She doesn’t have an ego, and that leaves so much room for success.”
“There have been times I wanted to do something out of the ordinary, and Cardi was just like, ‘Okay, I trust you. Let’s do it.” – Kollin Carter
The trendsetter’s groundbreaking aesthetic is definitely being noticed—her 2019 Grammys ensemble, a custom creation dreamed up with the legendary house of Mugler, was included in Google’s 2019 Year in Search list. Here Carter dishes on Cardi B’s standout looks.
A SPANISH HOMAGE
"We had gone to Milan Fashion Week and worked with Domenico from Dolce & Gabbana. To build that relationship, we followed up with this custom stunner for the 2018 American Music Awards. Domenico invited us to his Manhattan penthouse to go over sketches. We wanted to be over-the-top and to embrace her Trinidadian and Dominican heritage."
THE PRINCESS OF THE DIAMOND BALL
“For the 2019 Diamond Ball, I was thinking very sleek, sexy, elevated and lush. And Cardi was just like, ‘No, I want to go big.’ I said, ‘All right. If you want to do big, then let’s do big.’ We had more than 30 gowns, and she only tried on about three. She was like, ‘This is it.’ She wore a seven-inch pleaser heel, which, if you don’t know what that means, is like the stripper platform heel.”
THAT MUGLER GRAMMY GETUP
“We wanted to create something memorable for the 2019 Grammys. I flew to Paris and met with the Mugler team, and we went through fashion archives that were more than 25 years old. It was a dream come true. Mugler had always been a point of reference for me when I did editorial earlier in my career, so it was like a full-circle moment.”
THE TWO-TONE POWER SUIT
“We had been dying for Cardi to wear that outfit and we had it in Paris for fashion week last year. We had so many options but wanted to make sure that the look got the life it needed, because it was such a different take on a suit. I reached out to the designer, Sally LaPointe, and was like, ‘We really have to hold on to this.’ We kept it for the Vogue event, which was perfect. The color scheme was amazing.”
HER OXBLOOD MET GALA LOOK
“Two years ago I envisioned Cardi having this whole oxblood moment, but we didn’t get to do it because she was pregnant. So in 2019 I was like, ‘I want your entire body covered and nothing but your face showing.’ I got my illustrator to make a sketch and send it to the people at Thom Browne. They loved it. The ensemble took a little over a month to make—it had 60,000 feathers on the train, which was almost 50 feet long.”