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April 20 2014

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Alicia Keys (And Her Stylist) Are On Fire

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Alicia Keys kicked off her international Set the World on Fire tour on March 7. And according to her stylist, Laura Jones, her performances are all about the singing, rather than fancy costumes (unlike some pop stars). “Alicia doesn’t like to do a lot of costume changes. We’re not trying to build up some big embellished look [and] we didn’t want her to be hidden by the clothes,” says Jones, who’s been dressing Keys for a year. (They met while Jones was assisting Edward Enninful at W magazine.) But just because Keys is all about the notes doesn’t mean she neglects her onstage aesthetic. For the tour, Jones tells us that they went for strong, sexy, and sophisticated. “Alicia really, really loves clothes and she’s really hands on. She’s hit a place in her life where she’s feeling really confident. We wanted her wardrobe to reflect that,” explains Jones. In order to achieve Keys’ bold but pared-down look, Jones enlisted the help of Michael Kors (who designed the shimmering blue gown Keys wears at the end of her set, as well as the red stunner she donned while singing at the Inauguration last January) and Akris’ Albert Kriemler, who created a host of custom wares.

“The focus was on details, fit, and flattering cuts,” says Jones, noting that Kriemler worked closely with her and Keys for months (in fact, before he met the star, Jones sent him YouTube videos of Keys performing so he could get a sense of how she moves on stage). “It’s all about understanding how she’s going to perform and knowing what fabrics are camera friendly and body friendly,” she adds. (Apparently, jersey is a safe bet for all of the above.) “My job is to make sure the clothes never get in the way of her performance. They should maximize her movements, maximize how she feels, and be a great marriage of functionality, sophistication, and longevity. She’s touring for the rest of the year, so she needs to wear something that won’t feel stale in a couple of months,” offers Jones, explaining that the designers made Alicia around seven different outfits so that she can change up her visage from one performance to the next.

As for the end result, it seems Keys’ team nailed it—last night, the singer gave an animated performance at L.A.’s Staples Center in an Akris V-neck paillette bodysuit and a black Maison Michel hat. So how does the singer feel about her Set the World on Fire wardrobe? “The tour is about a journey to freedom and personal strength,” Keys told Style.com. “I wanted to embody that energy and spirit. The Akris looks that Albert Kriemler designed for me are the perfect balance of striking, strong, glamorous, and chic. I feel empowered on stage wearing them.” Jones was pretty happy about it, too. “When you see it on stage, and everyone is screaming, and she looks so divine, you know you’ve done a good job. And that feels great.”

 

Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/ Getty Images

 

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