by Rachel Vancelette for Urban Mindz
Gallerist and art advisor, Georges Berges, once commented on art and fashion: “The convergence of art and fashion is symbiotic. Everything that exists and surrounds us is a product of the society we live in. Who we are, what we see, and what we experience is interconnected and interrelated. There is no place we can point to and say that this or that object does not belong to the sphere of art.” Fashion designers and stylists are among those innovators whose work is now considered a form of legitimate performance art, who are bringing their creations to the public, just as a sculptor would build and mold his art from the bottom up.
Fast becoming one of the foremost young American fashion stylists, Kollin Carter has hit the celebrity spotlight mainly for his collaboration with hip-hop, tiny bombshell, 27-year-old Cardi B -- real name, Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar. Responsible for the Bronx rapper’s emerging quintessential iconic stylings, Kollin’s vision has transformed Cardi into a fashion icon who serves it up with showstopping looks that simply cannot be ignored. Kollin’s background includes 3 years of editorial work with top stylist Law Roach, who revamped Zendaya and Celine Dion with killer red carpet styles, and considers himself an “image architect.”
Born with a passion for fashion, in an interview with Cosmopolitan Magazine, Carter states, “I've always had a vision, I could look at [an outfit] and critique it, know whether I liked it, or didn't, and what I would do differently. But it wasn't until my freshman year of college [at Jackson State, in Mississippi], when I was 17, that I realized, like, [styling] is something that people do for a living.”
In 2017, a friend at Atlantic Records pushed Carter, encouraging him to have a meet-up with someone that she believed might be special, just as Carter was beginning to waiver on becoming a celebrity stylist. When he agreed and was introduced to Cardi B, they both sensed something amazing could be coming. Pushing off of each other’s fashion vision, mode of working, and sense of style, they formed a fast friendship, and in the process, decided to make some impossible dreams become possible.
Carter, for years, had idolized Manfred Thierry Mugler, the internationally-recognized iconic French designer whose European collections garnered both commercial and haute couture successes. Mugler had retired and walked away from it all, but maintained a coveted archive of his famous pieces in France. Kollin was determined to access this treasure trove, but it took stubborn persistence to finally be allowed admittance for himself and Cardi in Paris, where they excitedly viewed the archive in person. When they were granted entry, Carter instantly fell in love with the look they finally wrangled for Cardi to wear – the vintage Mugler that Cardi wore at the 2019 Grammy’s, a pink duchess satin and black velvet “Venus” dress and bodysuit. Also, in 2019, Carter paid tribute to Mugler, debuting an eight-minute short film called “Muglerized”, where Mugler asks: “Are you looking for some drama?”
Kollin Carter dismisses the aggressive critics who come after them, [like the time he dressed Cardi in fur], and they are both very willing to fight back in order to maintain their personal creativity, imagination and innovative approach to fashion. Over the top performance looks are their forte, and having fun is a must; we sometimes think maybe with tongue in cheek?
Cardi and Kollin prefer to laugh at detractors, even when being called tacky, inappropriate or gaudy. One wonders if Carter has magically discovered a way to ‘melt’ and then pour her voluptuous curves into the stellar design looks he has styled when she has walked on the red carpets. But overall, these fashion influencers are beloved by their huge following who cannot wait to be wowed during their next red carpet appearances.