Chloe X Halle
Photo by Jim Spellman/Getty Images
Behind The Seams: Chloe X Halle's Red Carpet Style Evolution
A quick Google search will return exactly how wardrobe curator and celebrity stylist Zerina Akers got her start in the industry. If her name sounds familiar, it should: One of her clients is 22-time GRAMMY-award winner Beyoncé. But what many don’t know that Akers is also the woman behind the looks of Parkwood's own emerging singing duo, Chloe and Halle Bailey.
On the heels of their first-ever GRAMMY nomination for Best New Artist, not to mention a nod for Best Urban Contemporary Album for their debut, The Kids Are Alright, we caught up with Akers to discuss the young nominees' ever-evolving style and what to expect when they hit the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards red carpet.
2018 MTV Video Music Awards
"At that time, only a select few donned Iris Van Herpen on the red carpet. These looks marked Chloe X Halle's first time in couture—and continued their growth as fashion icons."
Chloe X Halle may only be 20 and 18 years old, respectively, but they are very involved when it comes to curating their public ensembles, according to Akers. "Style is such a personal form of communicating your mood, motives and intentions. They are flexible and will listen when I push them towards some riskier fashion decisions but will not budge if it’s something that just doesn't empower them as young women."
Naturally, what’s worn on the red carpet versus as a performance differs for several (or perhaps obvious) reasons. "For me, shapes and the balance of space is important for red carpet looks," Akers continues. "Most red carpets are much longer and more grueling than they appear, so comfort is always appreciated. But sometimes the more painful option—like the corseted dress or higher heel—is worth it!"
2016 BET Awards
On the other hand, when it comes to live performances, comfort and functionality is mandatory.
"Each artist needs to feel free to deliver a great deal of themselves to their audience, often having to focus on a number of things simultaneously: including but not limited to playing instruments, listening to stage cues, interacting with the audience, while singing and dancing," Akers explains. “The last thing I would want my client to be worried about is fussy clothes, uncomfortable shoes, or having to manage any fears on top of the natural anxieties that come with the vulnerability of performing in front of a crowd!"
"The Kids Are Alright" Music Video
"We just had fun filming this piece—mixing fashion high and low and experimenting every step of the way."
"With all of my clients I try to listen and find out what it is that they have in mind for the project at hand, as well and include options with my perspective," Akers explains. "Then, we powwow at fittings, sometimes going in a different direction all together. I try to allow for a certain flow of creativity and change, this usually requires bringing a wide variety of options."
How does Chloe X Halle’s style differ from one another? Akers describes them both as risk-takers in their own right. "They're young women who are constantly evolving,” she adds. "Chloe is free-spirited and loves celebrating the S-curves of her body. She’s always on the hunt for fresh new styles to try. Halle appreciates a more classic approach to the carpet with chic and sexy silhouettes but loves flowing boho styles day-to-day."
2016 MTV Video Music Awards
"This was the Chloe X Halle's second red carpet, but the first time they really broke out as fashion darlings. They took a risk wearing Rodarte and really owned the looks."
Despite their super-close resemblance (after all they are sisters), Akers emphasizes that she rarely, if ever, dressed them in twinning looks. "I try not to dress them in identical looks but looks that compliment one another usually from the same brand or designer," she explains.
"Initially, I appreciated how it almost told a mini-collection story for the brand. These days I lean more so to complimenting colors, print, or silhouettes—it’s about what truly works best for them individually. As they have gotten older, they lean towards more simple silhouettes and less ruffles and volume."
2017 NAACP Image Awards
While Akers works with an array of styling clients, one thing always stays consistent: her nuanced ability to help each woman maintain their own style identity.
"Fashion is more for mass consumption, while style is personal," she says. "For me, it’s important that with each client, it is a collaboration. It's important to find the balance between meeting—and hopefully exceeding—their expectations, and also pushing them to leave their comfort zone to try things that they may not have selected on their own."
What will Chloe X Halle debut on the red carpet this year? You'll have to wait until the 2019 GRAMMY Awards LIVE on Sunday, Feb. 10 on CBS to find out.