Usually, we would be gathering to watch Steve Harvey on Family Feud with our friends and family right after a day’s work. However, it’s his fashion that’s brought us here today. His most recent outfits went viral on all social media platforms and sent the media into a frenzy. The beloved TV host traveled to Paris and showed the internet that it’s not just his comedic and charming manner that we should be paying attention to, but that his style is also worthy of discussion.
The first outfit that bubbled a trending topic on the internet was a three-piece denim Dolce & Gabbana suit paired with suede chelsea boots. For some, they didn’t quite understand or like the look at first and jumped to criticism, but the digital fashion critics quickly slid in to confirm that the Canadian tuxedo was indeed a look — in the best way. It was a well-tailored classic. However, people aren’t used to seeing Harvey outside of a traditional suit and tie. Yet, the looks that followed after the Canadian tux certified that Mr. Harvey will be exploring new fashion grounds.
Steve Harvey is a name that has rung bells since the ‘90’s and we’ve known him to be a natural comedian, an actor, and an amazing television host, but never an inspiration for fashion. However, it’s never too late to reintroduce yourself, but what’s changed and who’s behind this reintroduction? His stylist, Elly Karamoh.
Karamoh first joined Harvey’s team two years ago, but most recently they’ve embarked on a new trajectory. “I think from the beginning until now there’s been a big change, but not necessarily on the look, more so Mr. Harvey is open to a lot more now,” Karamoh says. “At one point, he felt like society put him in a box as a businessman and thought he had to become more conservative. And I said at the end of the day, you are a superstar.”
In Harvey’s era of being a stand-up comedian, his stage ensembles consisted of vibrant suits in a baggy cut (an appropriate fit for the time), and not too long ago Elly reminisced on those days and how he admired his client’s swag at the time, which led Harvey expressing that he missed wearing color. Karamoh, who was born and raised in Paris, morphed his love for sophistication, sartorialism, and class with Mr. Harvey’s recent request to add color back into the mix. “I created a portfolio of all his past suits from his King Of Comedy days, and we remade them with Dolce & Gabbana,” says Karamoh.
“When I presented Mr. Harvey with more high fashion, I wanted to increase it little by little,” Karamoh explained. “So, we started with Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria, and then custom Ralph Lauren, and then Tom Ford runway, and then more and more I wanted to get closer to what’s happening today.” A hint at the most recent sightings of Harvey in Bottega Veneta.
Clearly, Harvey and his stylist have found a formula that works well and earned them social media’s anticipation of their next outfit. We connected with Karamoh on exactly how he transformed his client’s style, the results of their recent success, and the future of Harvey’s fashion presence.
ESSENCE: Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you started your career in fashion.
Karamoh: I’m Elly Karamoh, born and raised in Paris, France, and moved to the states in 2005. I’ve always been infatuated with fashion whether it was womenswear or menswear or just the art itself. And because I didn’t speak English, I took a lot of time to educate myself on it. I started small by styling friends, and eventually was hired at an atelier in Atlanta and made custom menswear, and that’s when I really fell in love with menswear. I really loved working with older guys because they were more engaged with my love for sophistication. Because of my background in Europe, I’m more intrigued by sartorialism, sophistication, and class.
ESSENCE: How long have you been working with Steve?
Karamoh: Since 2019, it’s actually funny since all this recognition has happened because we’ve been doing it for some time. And I just knew the first time I styled Steve it would get picked up by the media outlets, but it didn’t. So, this is all God’s timing.
ESSENCE: What has changed from when you first started styling Steve until now? Or is the internet just late?
Karamoh: I think from the beginning until now there’s been a big change, but not necessarily on the look more so Mr. Harvey is open to a lot more now. It was kind of like a graduation. When I first started, I removed the pocket square and that was a big thing between him and I. I was like “Ok Mr Harvey we’re going to remove all these little distractions that add weight to you”. Like the tie bars, the pocket squares, the pocket watch. I had to reassure him that the simplest man in the room is the flyest man in the room. At one point, he felt like society put him in a box as a businessman so he had to become more conservative. And I said at the end of the day, you are a superstar. We removed extra accessories and redefined his fit and gave it a leaner appearance. And I also removed patterns.
ESSENCE: Are there limits to working with a more mature client or is Mr. Harvey open minded to wild fashion ideas?
Karamoh: He’s definitely open to wild fashion ideas because he loves style and he and his family are fashion enthusiasts. But at the end of the day, there are limitations because I don’t want him to ever look like he is trying too hard. I always remove myself from the equation, and think of his age and his audience. Even though we’re open, we are both mindful of what we’re doing.
ESSENCE: Mr. Harvey in Bottega makes so much sense. How did that come about? Was it just finding great pieces that worked or were you intentional about finding a Bottega piece for him? Because I think seeing him in Bottega is when the fashion crowd was like “Ok wait Steve has entered the room and he knows whats up”
Karamoh: [laughs] For me, it’s always intentional. I live for the fashion game. When I presented Mr Harvey with more high fashion, I wanted to increase it little by little. So, we started with Dolce & Gabbana Alta Sartoria, and then custom Ralph Lauren, and then Tom Ford runway, and then more and more I wanted to get closer to what’s happening today. I love what Daniel Lee has done for Bottega. I think it’s a modern perspective on menswear, it’s fresh, but it’s so age appropriate. Mr Harvey is global and they represent a global image.
ESSENCE: What does Steve Harvey at the Met Gala look like?
Karamoh: Oh my gosh. First of all, my dream! Honestly, sophisticated and expect the unexpected. And when I say expect the unexpected, don’t expect a costume. I would never. I just love fresh masculinity from the 1940’s and the black and white movies. It was just luxury, the white on white bow ties, it was classiness. So, Steve Harvey at the Met Gala would be in a beautiful tuxedo. Anything that’s classic is forever a winner.
ESSENCE: Clearly you have found a formula that ticks and has brought your work to the forefront. What’s your approach to creating these looks?
Karamoh: My first approach is focusing on the project and the audience. My main focus is always the audience and the platform.
ESSENCE: How’s this moment of success and notoriety been for you? Are new clients rolling in?
Karamoh: Yes, I’m getting mad phone calls. I think anyone who gets recognition has prayed for it for a long time. Personally, I have even before styling Steve Harvey. I’m so grateful. I’m an immigrant from Paris, France and I’ve always prayed for my name to ring bells in fashion and I’m nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m grateful for people to know my first and last name. I don’t want this to just be a moment for me. I want people to know I have range and that I’m focused.
ESSENCE: I’m sure this new style is giving the fashion publications the vision to work with Mr. Harvey. Are you guys just having fun right now or would evolving Mr Harvey into a fashion figure be something to consider?
Karamoh: Man, hell yea! We want the covers! I don’t think there’s another Steve Harvey and I don’t think there will ever be.
ESSENCE: Now that everyone is paying attention to Mr Harvey’s fashion, there is a heightened sense of visibility for the brands he’s wearing. Is working with emerging Black designers something the team is thinking about or already doing?
Karamoh: Yes! And we’ve been working with a lot of local designers. You know we tape Family Feud in Africa, in South Africa and Ghana, and we’ve worked with traditional designers there and wore the traditional Ghanian clothes on the show. And I love mixing high fashion, streetwear, and African fashion. We recently won GQ Best Dressed for wearing the Dior collab with a wonderful Ghanian artist, Amoako Boafo. I definitely want to continue to work with Black artists, Asian artists, Indian artists, global artists, and just everyone. I’m an immigrant and immigrants come in different forms and colors and I want to work with everybody. The industry used to be so strict and cold, and I love that the industry is just open to more people now.