If anyone knows the intricacies of dressing a living icon, it’s Ty Hunter. From straightening out her Met Gala train, to adorning baby bump moments, the former visual merchandiser is responsible for Beyoncé‘s bootylicious style (cliché yes, but that word won’t ever get old).
Though he tends to stay in the background, Hunter took center stage for an exclusive chat with Billboard that revisited past looks from the diva, and the original superstar who led him to fashion. “My first concert my dad and my mom took me to see [was] Diana Ross, and I was in awe,” he told Billboard fashion editor Gregory DelliCarpini Jr. “The costume changes, the hair—it was so much that went into it and I was just in awe. I became a fan, and really, that kind of steered me into fashion.”
Still, he could have never imagined that dressing windows at a Houston boutique would lead to styling one of the most influential celebrities to date. “It kind of happened by accident,” he said about first connecting with Beyoncé’s mom Tina Knowles in the late 90s. “I would contact her whenever we got pieces in that I thought looked like Destiny’s Child at the time. I had a day off, I called her, and she was like, ‘What [are] you doing?’ and I was like, ‘I’m off today, I’m seeing if you need help.’” The next week, Hunter was at the Grammys where homemade designs marked DC3′s distinct style.
“When I first started with Ms. Tina, no one was letting us pull clothes as far as designers and stuff,” he added. “She did a wonderful job creating the look and establishing the look for Destiny’s Child. They always came [out] real graceful and beautiful, just in really elegant costumes that she created.”
Now, of course, designers like Givenchy, Gucci, and Emilio Pucci are at Beyoncé’s beck and call. Yet, Hunter says it’s not the “Bow Down” dame’s designer wardrobe that we should aspire to when imitating her sexy, strong look.
“It’s not even capturing her style. It’s capturing the essence of Beyoncé,” said Hunter, who cites last year’s feathered Met Gala gown, that Rubin Singer Superbowl look, and her pregnant Lanvin moment at the 2011 VMAs as favorites. “It’s just feeling comfortable in your skin, and you have to sell the garment. If you’re on the red carpet, if you feel like a diva, if you feel hot and sexy, it just shows.”
Visit Billboard for the full “behind-the-seams” interview.