Ariana Grande’s Stylist Goes Inside the Singer’s Hottest Looks and ’60s Obsession

Ariana Grande's Stylist Goes Inside the Singer's Hottest Looks

Despite only being in the game for a few years, 21-year-old singer Ariana Grande always steps out in style. With a petite body, signature high pony, and an angelic face, Ariana has proven time after time that her voice is not the only thing to be reckoned with. Since the early start of her career, celebrity stylist Brigitte Pilla has been the woman behind some of Ariana’s most iconic looks.

In case you needed a receipt, she is the genius who put Ariana in those white thigh-high stockings and YSL pumps for the “Problem” single cover. The two met while both working on Nickelodeon’s Victorious back in 2010. “We kind of built a friendship there, and then I came on when she first started her first album (Yours Truly),” Pilla tells us. Since Ariana’s start as a teen star, her style has definitely gone from shy school girl, to a young woman who knows how to own her femininity. Below, Brigitte talks about her influence on Ariana’s style evolution, what went into some of her hottest looks, and which young starlet she would love to work with in the future.

How would you describe Ariana’s style?
Brigitte Pilla: She has that Audrey Hepburn, old Hollywood feel to her. She’s girly, feminine, funny, super talented. She can pull off anything.

Who is most responsible for her look?
Ultimately it’s been Ariana. I do think I influenced her in pushing the envelope a little bit, and taking her out of her comfort zone. But if she didn’t want to wear it, she wouldn’t wear it. She’s very responsible for her look.

What influences Ariana’s style?
She’ll get influenced by watching Gossip Girl or an old-time movie like Sweet Charity, and then we’ll talk about it. We both put our ideas together and go with it. For how young she is, sometimes that’s not always easy to have the confidence to kind of go with something a little different.

What was it like styling Ariana at the beginning of career compared to more recently?
The VMAs in Brooklyn (2013) is when it all started happening. I use to go to these PR houses and pull stuff, and they were like, “Ariana who?” Then within six to eight months right after she went on tour, and after the “Problem” video, everybody knew who she was. That was exciting.

What was the vision behind the Yours Truly album cover?
Ariana wanted to go with a lingerie look but still be feminine and girly. I picked a whole rack of really girly, cute looks that were a little more grown-up and big girl.

Yours Truly was a little bit controversial because she was sitting on a bed of roses and she was in a corset with ruffles. I mean, I thought it was amazing. I guess [the record label] thought it was a little much with her coming off of Nickelodeon. They nixed that and went with more of a facial shot.

What went into the concept for the cover of her 2014 album, My Everything?
Same idea. We decided to go with a lingerie look, so a lot of the outfits that were custom-made had some retro, ’60s two-pieces and custom made crop tops and little ruffled bottoms. We used some vintage ruffled bottoms in the “Problem” video that Ariana really liked, so I went and had some more made. We just put those pieces together and tried some different looks.

How had Ariana’s style evolved from her first album to the second?
By the time of the second album’s photo shoot, I think people were starting to see her as more grown up, and not the girl on Nickelodeon. Her music was more grown up. I still think the cover of My Everything is feminine — it’s not over-the-top, you really can’t see anything. Even if you’re like, “Wow, it’s sexy,” Ariana is so feminine, and she can really pull off wearing hardly anything and still look appropriate. Because she’s so tiny and doll-like.

What do you say to the critics who believe Ariana is too sexy for her age?
I think everyone needs to give her a chance. I really don’t think she’s over-the-top sexy. She’s sexy in her own way because of who she is and [because of] her music. I don’t think that she’s obscene.

Who is the “no person” when it comes to her look?
Everybody has a little bit of a say but ultimately it’s her. There can be five people in a fitting and it doesn’t really matter if everybody likes it — if she doesn’t like it, she’s not wearing it. So she definitely has the last word.

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