How does it feel to be that girl? Well, as of right now, being Doechii seems like being on top of the world. Music’s self-proclaimed “Swamp Princess” made her MTV VMAs red [*black] carpet debut last night, giving equal parts The Matrix meets Aaliyah/00’s sleek minimalism and a touch of Aeon Flux. This description makes sense if you’ve been watching her career closely. Doechii is steadily carving out a name and niche for herself for her unique approach to sonics (I mean, the composition for “Crazy” alone is completely bonkers) and aesthetics. From her “Crazy” era orange pony, the Grace jones/ Jean-Paul Goude-esque cover art for her EP, she/her/ black bitch, and campy performance art theatrics (like pulling off her wig to unveil plaits), the TDE rapper has become one to watch.
We chatted with the architect behind her VMAs look, celebrity stylist Malu all about the inspiration, the fluid process of styling, and the unexpected place she sourced the outfit.
“I needed her to look hot, like the swamp princess. Like, the cool, alternative black girl,” Malu tells ESSENCE, and that she did. The Black leather co-ord set with its sharp, structured shoulders, exaggerated spearpoint collar, and keyhole aids in the stylistic journey the “Persuasive” singer has been taking us on. It’s a bit dark, a bit alternative and dystopian, yet also high glam and high femme. It’s a format we’ve seen before, yet it still feels so fresh. Doechii follows in a long line of femme artists who think about their practice, performance and style holistically (see; Grace Jones, Lady Gaga, Bjork, Kelis, etc.).
But just exactly how did this moody style moment come to be? You’d be surprised to learn that it came from the stylist’s own closet. That’s right, Doechii’s femme goth look was an ensemble from Malu’s very own wardrobe.
“I just added the accessories; she has the earbuds that are like sticking out, so we made it futuristic, very dark vampire, and it just all came together very last minute.” Some of the most magical moments in styling come from moments like this. “It’s a different type of relief and happiness when it works, especially that last minute,” Malu tells us of the last-minute style miracle. “Nothing’s working out, and then all of a sudden, it just works, making everything all worth it. It’s like, wow, this is the moment I didn’t expect, but it worked.”
Malu Registre is an NYC-based stylist who works across editorial and celebrity wardrobing. She’s styled editorials for fashion glossies, as well as looks for “Me First” rapper Kari Faux (whose Colors performance inspired Doechii to reach out initially). Her aesthetic speaks to that same energy as Doechii. It’s a synergy. In fact, Malu has long loved her style, so this pairing just makes sense. “She knows what she’s doing,” raves Malu about Doechii’s style. “She knows what to do to be a breakout star—and she’s doing it! I think a lot of artists forget that your image is important. Fashion is important to become like a megastar. And she just gets it, you know, I don’t have to tell her she’s ready to break those boundaries—like she’s ready to push it.”
Mark our words, Doechii is a fashion gworl, and one to watch. We can’t wait to see what conceptual look (whether through visuals or red carpet) she serves next.