Mariah Carey‘s style has been iconic ever since she stepped into the spotlight. Throughout her career, she’s never been shy about piling on the glitter and glam, especially now that she’s promoting her new album release, Caution and resurrecting her Vegas residency in February. All her latest looks have been thanks to her go-to stylist, Nicolas Bru and we chatted with him to get all the scoop on Carey’s show-stopping outfits.
Bru, who also works with singers Fergie and Sofia Carson, talks all about her latest looks, what it’s like working with Carey and what’s in store for 2019.
PEOPLE: What’s the process like working with Mariah during a fitting?
Nicolas Bru: It all depends on what it’s for. I’ve done some shows at her Vegas residency as well as music videos and her new album cover. When we do the shows, the album covers, and the videos there’s always a creative document that’s generated by the director that we can work from which is usually made from a prior conversation she has with them about the vibe we’re going for. We usually have a quick call just to discuss some ideas, colors and shapes and what she’s feeling right now. Then we go from there and get started on working on options for her.
P: Does she always know exactly what she wants to wear when she sees the selection at the fitting?
NB: She doesn’t like to try on a hundred things. I usually try to get clothing made for her because she likes custom dresses, especially for her concerts and music videos. She’s been doing this for a pretty long time so she’s very aware of her body and what looks good on her. She usually has a pretty good hunch as to what’s going to work. She’s also pretty eccentric — if I feel like she should try something, she’ll try it on and give it a chance. She’ll tell me, “I’m not sure it’s going to work but I’ll give it a try”. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t.
P: Was there a time when you wanted her to wear a certain look but she wasn’t so sure it would work?
NB: We did a custom Julien Macdonald fringe dress for the opening of her Vegas residency this summer and it was hand-embroidered with a deep V-neckline and then it had long, metal chains that were sewn on the side. It was extremely heavy to hold because it was all metal but it moved really nicely. She had to be on stage and walk down stairs, so she really wasn’t sure if it would work. But when she put it on she loved it. We customized it for the stage and she ended up wearing it for every show.
P: Is it difficult to style her with stage restrictions in mind?
NB: I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, it’s just something to keep in mind. There needs to be structure at the bottom so it won’t get under her feet and all the dresses have to be ready for a quick change. It’s just things to keep in mind that we usually do on the back end of it; it doesn’t really affect the difficulty of it.
P: Has there ever been a crazy wardrobe mishap when you dressed her?
NB: One time she was about to go on stage and we were putting her dress on her and the seam was kind of weak and kind of opened up. I don’t think she even noticed; she was in the zone getting ready. I just grabbed a needle and thread and I just started sewing the dress. I did panic, but I got it done right when she had to walk out.
P: Has she ever requested something difficult to get a hold of? What’s been the craziest demand you’ve had while styling her?
NB: She’s never really asked for specific things. She gives me a vibe and I know what she likes and what looks good on her. I don’t think she’s ever gone, “Oh, get me this.” I think she knows what she likes and she expects a certain quality of work but she is really fun and really easy to collaborate with. She’s open to new ideas. It’s a nice working relationships for sure.
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P: You’ve styled her Vegas residency shows and her new Caution album cover — what was that process like?
NB: All of her album covers looks are always simple and very timeless and iconic, you can’t really date it. So the goal that the photographer and I wanted was to have clothes that were not recognizable from a specific season available for Mariah.
As for the show, it’s split into four segments, so we did four different outfits. For the opening we did the fringe Julien Macdonald. The second part was more upbeat with more dancing, so we went with a little black dress that she could move really easily in. Part three is the ballad section where she’s singing with the piano, so with that we did this red “butterfly” dress with flowy sleeves. Then for the ending, I wanted to do an angelic moment, so we had this show stopping white hand-embroidered, feathery dress.
P: Is there anything that you are dying to see her wear next?
NB: There is this one Tom Ford sequined jumpsuit that I wanted her to wear and we tried it on her and it looked incredible. We were maybe going to do it for video, but we never ended up using it.