Biggie Smalls started a label with his friend Lance "Un" Rivera, and it was Undeas, and Junior M.A.F.I.A. was signed to the label. At that point, I had a lot of success with Mary J. Blige, and it was sort of like we were in the same family. They became extended family, so naturally, when it was time to come up with an image for Kim, Big and Un thought of me.
What were your initial thoughts about what her image should be?
I thought that she was a dope lyricist, and I didn't have any preconceived ideas about what she should be. I don't style from that place. I style from a place of connecting with the client, finding out what the goals are from the label and management, but really connecting with her, artist to artist. Then, from that point, the ideas just flow for me. It's always a co-creation.
How did you all agree on her wearing so much Chanel? Was Kim a big fan of it? Were you a big fan of it?
Kim was a huge fan of Chanel. I had achieved success and my finances had changed a big deal, so I was able to afford Chanel, and at that time the Chanel sneakers were hot and the chain belts. Even the drawstring Chanel bags. So we both loved Chanel just in our personal lives. I think a big part of our styling was being authentic to who we were as women and then elevating that. So that's what you see—a sense of both of our styles, naturally elevated.
How do think Lil' Kim impacted how other people interpreted Chanel? Did you see more women interested in the brand after seeing her wearing it?
I definitely believe she influenced our culture and outside of our culture. I believe that our interpretation of Chanel and the way that we styled it and put it together influenced even Chanel. I noticed more of a hip-hop edge. Chanel was always classic, and as the years went on, it became increasingly edgy. To me, it leaned more toward hip-hop culture as it grew. They always had their classic pieces and the pearls and stuff, but even the pearls became edgy. But not to take away anything from Karl, because he's amazing. He’s a genius and he’s tapped into what’s hot, so why wouldn’t he be attracted to hip-hop culture?
Did the luxury world embrace Kim?
I would say a year into her first album, we had access to everything. After the "Cursh on You" video. Because she crossed over to MTV, which was huge to be a female rapper.