Get Behind the Fashion of VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens With Celebrity Stylist Eric Archibald

Major ? alert!

Stylist to the stars Eric Archibald understands the intrinsic relationship between music and fashion. Archibald’s resume includes some of music’s biggest names (he worked on Beyonce’s visual Lemonade album), and most recently, he styled hip-hop’s leading ladies ahead of VH1 Hip Hop Honors: All Hail the Queens.

We caught up with Archibald to find out what it was like styling honorees Queen Latifah, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott and Salt-N-Pepa for the exclusive photoshoot with the iconic Annie Leibovitz. Having worked with both Lil’ Kim and Missy Elliott before, Archibald also had some anecdotes to share with us about these two queens.

Check out our interview with Archibald in the gallery below and catch Hip Hop Honors when it airs on Monday, July 11 at 9 p.m.

  • 1
    Mark Schafer
    “The ladies are wearing a combination of Balmain, body stockings from Wolford, corsets that were built for them by a company called Squeem. A lot of the looks were Balmain.”

  • 2
    Mark Schafer
    “Annie Leibovitz’s team built a mood board. I drew inspiration from her board and I drew inspiration from Salt-N-Pepa throughout the years. I did a lot of research, put my own board together and that’s how the inspiration came about.”

  • 3
    Mark Schafer
    “I grew up watching Salt-N-Pepa. Pepa’s from St. Albans, I’m from St. Albans, and I’ve always wanted to dress them.”

  • 4
    Mark Schafer
    “I love what Salt-N-Pepa did in the past—eight ball jackets, jumpsuits, catsuits. It was easiest for me to say, ’Let’s do a modern version of that,’ which is lace bodysuits with belts and hot shorts and fishnets and knee-high boots. The inspiration from the past has reinvented itself today.”

  • 5
    Mark Schafer
    “Missy has always been known to push the envelope—her leather yellow suit she had on with the green t-shirt, her sitting on the hill like Lauren in the green leather sweatsuit. We always use a lot of leather and patent leathers with Missy. Misa Hylton, who’s her current stylist, we put a mood board together. Misa did a great job of combining Judo belts with leather jumpsuits and capes. It was brilliant. We took a lot of menswear and transformed it into womenswear.”

  • 6
    Mark Schafer
    “When I first worked with Missy Elliott, it was for her first video, ’The Rain,’ with Hype Williams. I was an assistant to June Ambrose (big up to June Ambrose!) and Hype really made us want to come up with something innovative for Missy. All he kept saying was that he wanted a Michelin Man suit for her. We interested a designer from Brooklyn, Francis Hendy, and he built the suit. In Vibe Magazine years ago, there was a picture of me behind her blowing it up.”

  • 7
    Mark Schafer
    “Lil’ Kim was always a fashion trailblazer. I met her when she was with Puffy on the Been Around the World Tour. From day one, she always wanted something different. There was this one outfit I created for her for the tour that got lost in Fedex on a Saturday afternoon. It was opening night in Miami and Kim was like, ’I’m not going on stage unless I get this.’ I was running around that stadium in Miami trying to find Fedex. The heavens opened, I found it and she wore her coin outfit—a headpiece, a coin dress and coin gladiator sandals.”

  • 8
    Mark Schafer
    “Lil’ Kim always wants to mix high fashion and some of who she was from the past, so we fused both of those worlds together for this shoot, while giving Annie what she wants. I built a lace jumpsuit for Kim and the corset she had on was from Chromat. I paired that together with lace Valentino boots just to make sure the look was cohesive from head to toe.”

  • 9
    Mark Schafer
    “The energy on set was magic, electric. It’s like I finally got to dress the ladies that have always inspired me, who helped move my career with style and music.”

  • 10
    Mark Schafer
    “One of my assistants found this jeweler who works on a lot of magazine shoots. She had all of this old school Chanel No. 5 jewelry that we ended up using.”

  • 11
    Mark Schafer
    “Gianvito Rossi, Jimmy Choo, Stuart Weitzman and Christian Louboutin were a lot of the shoes.”

  • 12
    Mark Schafer
    “These ladies are still at the top of their game. What a wonderful thing for VH1 to be honoring them! I remember sitting at home in Queens and watching awards shows and always dreaming about working with these ladies. We had so much fun on set creating, and when you’re having fun doing something, you reach the limits. There’s nothing that you won’t do to pull it together and make sure the ladies get what they want. That was important for me—seeing them all happy.”

1/2 Cartoon, 1/2 Beyhive.