Hip-hop stars and vogue trade mourn stylist Derek Khan | Vogue


Tributes have been paid to Derek Khan, the style stylist who invented the “ghetto fabulous” or “bling” look which merged high fashion with avenue fashion, who has died aged 63.

Khan altered the aesthetic of hip-hop tradition within the 90s by convincing beforehand reticent vogue labels to work with rap stars. His work with Mary J Blige (he styled her 1997 Share My World album cowl), Sean Combs (then generally known as Puff Daddy) and Salt-N-Pepa perpetually modified the look related to the style.

He began his profession as an assistant to Hubert De Givenchy, nevertheless it was when he began dressing Madonna’s backing dancers that he got here into contact with the music world. After he landed the job of the in-house stylist to Motown Data, he started to vary the fashion of hip-hop.

The album artwork for Share My World by Mary J Blige.
The album art work for Share My World by Mary J Blige. {Photograph}: .

Explaining his motivation in creating the “ghetto fabulous” look to the Genteel magazine in 2012, he stated: “Hip-hop stars had been simply starting to cross over to the mass market and to make this transition their photographs wanted just a little sharpening.”

Khan’s first paying stylist job was with Salt-N-Pepa within the early 90s, transferring their look on from their Kente impressed hats, bomber jackets and undercut haircuts. “These girls had a way of fashion, however my activity was to introduce them to couture,” he stated.

After Khan died, Cheryl “Salt” James wrote on Instagram: “Thanks for every part you had been Salt N Pepa’s first actual stylist.”

“As much as that time, most ladies in hip-hop wore Timberlands and saggy denims – fashion parts that had been borrowed from the lads, and had been worn in the identical manner as males,” defined Mario Dodovski who runs the Runway to Music video Instagram, devoted to archiving runway items worn in music movies.

“Immediately, you’ve three Black girls rapping about gender equality in these costly designer garments, wanting unapologetically glamorous.”

Lauryn Hill performing at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards in New York.
Lauryn Hill performing on the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards in New York. {Photograph}: Jeff Christensen/Reuters

In 1998 he helped fashion Lauryn Hill’s timeless search for her basic debut The Miseducation of…. “(The look] fused these disparate realms of bohemian, hip-hop, and grunge gown kinds,” stated Darnell-Jamal Lisby, a vogue historian. “Mixing a fur coat with a leather-based halter gown or retaining it informal along with her denim ensembles had been strategic and rightly elicited the picture that [Hill] wished the world to see,” he stated. “Khan’s imaginative and prescient was a good looking convergence of the time.”

The stylist claimed to have taught Blige the right way to stroll in heels and Combs the right way to gown, however his greatest legacy was making European luxurious vogue labels take note of hip-hop. “Manufacturers like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent had been combating to get their garments in music movies and on the pink carpet so they may attain a extra numerous viewers and enhance gross sales,” stated Dodovski.

After a jail sentence in 2003 for defrauding eight of New York’s most prestigious jewellers (he borrowed greater than $1.5m price of jewelry, which he later pawned), Khan moved to the UAE, the place he resided till his dying.

Khan’s legacy stays the way in which he opened up hip-hop tradition. “The ‘ghetto fabulous’ aesthetic gave permission for this era of hip-hop to embrace vogue in the way in which that they’ve,” stated Lisby. “It’s virtually part of the lexicon to see a hip-hop artist put on particular luxurious manufacturers and styled in particular methods.”

By the “ghetto fabulous” look Khan anticipated the fashion of streetwear and even right this moment’s increase in luxury sweatpants. As he informed the Genteel journal: “So long as there are clients who are keen to spend cash on wonderful jewels there’ll all the time be bling.”

Salt-N-Pepa in 1997. ‘These ladies had a sense of style, but my task was to introduce them to couture.’
Salt-N-Pepa in 1997. ‘These girls had a way of fashion, however my activity was to introduce them to couture.’ {Photograph}: Anthony Barboza/Getty Pictures

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