Diana Ross and Cher Will Always Be on Lizzo’s Fashion Mood Board

The superstar talks highlighting emerging designers on her ‘Special’ tour and finding her personal style the hard way.

Lizzo performing in a glittery jumpsuit
Courtesy of Lizzo

Lizzo’s road to fashion icon status did not come without its detours. Years ago, any deviation from the straight-sized beauty standard would make it near impossible to be dressed by a major fashion house—but the 34-year-old superstar has been disrupting the norm since her hit single “Truth Hurts” dropped in 2019. Two studio albums later, it appears Lizzo has the world’s top designers on speed dial, often stepping out in custom couture, and proving that high fashion is for everybody along the way. Perhaps it’s her relationship with major fashion houses like Valentino and Alexander McQueen that made her decision to collaborate with up-and-comers for her latest tour looks all the more special. For each of her 27 North American performances, the three-time Grammy award-winning artist wore dazzling full-body cat suits designed in partnership with her label YITTY and hand stoned by Crystal Artist, Disco Daddy.

Below, Lizzo sheds light on the story she was trying to tell on stage, looking to music legends for inspiration, and conquering style imposter syndrome.

You took this tour as an opportunity to highlight emerging designers like Disco Daddy rather than tapping a huge designer to make your tour looks. What was behind that decision? Were you ever tempted to bring someone from, say, a house like Mugler or Off-White to do your tour looks?

There was a relationship there. I know if something was done well in the past, it'll be done well again. That's what relationships are all about. Good work—no matter if it's a smaller brand or a bigger brand—if they do good work, then celebrate that, reward that, and become a recurring customer.

Tell me about the design process for getting your tour looks together.

My stage looks are one of the last things that come to me as far as vision goes. I would look through [sketches and ask myself] how do I want to look? How do I want to present myself? What new silhouettes am I trying to bring to the main stage? I've been doing a certain silhouette for a while and I wanted to change it up. As I’m moving into icon status, [I ask] what do the icons do? What do the legends wear on stage? And having fun with that. The YITTY really cool crystalized bodysuit was a highlight for me on this tour.

What kind of story did you want to tell with these looks?

The first half of the show was hard and fun and high-energy. In the middle, I wanted to give a big glam diva moment with a dress and then finally end it with the disco pants. There's definitely a story there. I want to take that approach in the future with my tour looks—having the story mapped out.

You mentioned looking to music legends for outfit inspiration. Who is your fashion icon?

Diana Ross and Cher are forever on my mood boards. What they brought was so fresh and never-before-seen. The people who they've worked with had so much attention to detail and they cared so much about the craft and the fabrics and how the lights hit it. They're the bible of glam and fashion on stage as a performer.

Let’s get into the Style Notes questions. What's the most prized possession in your closet?

I have a whole trunk of sentimental T-shirts that I've gotten on tour. If I opened for a band, I got their shirt. My DJ and I got into this big bar fight back in 2012 and that bar is now closed down, but I have the T-shirt. I have the T-shirt I wore on Letterman. I'm never gonna wear them again, but they mean so much to me. I can't get rid of them.

Do you have any fashion regrets?

There's an attention to detail I have now, with the way that I look, that is meticulous, down to the way the lash is sitting on my eyelid. Every hair is where it's supposed to be. Before, I was just ambitious. I was like, I wanna wear a leopard print dress and have a leopard print ponytail. I should have thought that through. If something doesn't look good in the mirror and you didn't pull it off, just change it. Just wear a bun and try it next time. You don't have to go through with an outfit just because you really wanted to make it happen.

That’s good advice. Who taught you that?

Nobody told me that. I learned the hard way! I got into this game by making everything myself. Now, we have major players like Alexander McQueen wanting to make me gowns, but I had to really work hard to get to this place. Sometimes I get a little bit of, what do y'all call that? Imposter syndrome? I don't really subscribe to that name, but that’s the closest thing to it when I'm like, “Wait a minute, no one wants to dress me. I don't belong here.” I have a lot of people remind me: “Yes you do.”