Even before she became a single-named, platinum-selling diva, Fantasia had a stylist.
As mere contestant on “American Idol,” Fantasia’s attire was largely determined by fashionistas hired by the show to give the wannabe superstars a polished look. But for Fantasia, who would eventually go on to win the competition, it wasn’t the look she wanted.
“It just wasn’t my style,” recalls last year’s champ, who at the time wore pant suits, dresses and other conservative styles. “It made me look a whole lot older — and I’m only 20 years old. Your attitude goes with what you wear. Once I put on something nice and I start dancing and singing in the outfit, then it’s like, ‘That’s the one.”’
Now that she’s come into her own with her debut album, “This Is Me,” which has sold more than 1.5 million copies, Fantasia feels more comfortable showcasing her own style, which she describes as “the punk rock look.”
On this day, she’s perfected the look, as she sports her short, spiked hair, cropped jacket with the collar flipped up, tight jeans and stiletto heels. But Fantasia is nothing if not versatile, and on a trip to find fashions for her summer tour, she brought The Associated Press along to show she doesn’t just have style — she has styles.
Hunting for flairFantasia arrives at the H&M store in midtown Manhattan with a publicist, two stylists, her manager and a reporter. Yet despite her entourage, she doesn’t play the role of detached celebrity — she immediately dives in and starts sifting through the racks like the rest of the customers, looking for the right accessory while snapping pictures with fans at the same time.
Fantasia is looking for something that will turn heads — and she sees something she likes as soon as she walks in the store: A white peasant shirt with eyelets, and a brown belt that hangs around the waist. Except it’s on the mannequin, and the belt is nowhere to be found. Her stylist goes off on a search for it.
“I like how the belt sets it off. But I guess sometimes the mannequin makes it look good too!!” she says, laughing.
“I like colors ... I like green — it looks very pretty on me,” she says, after eyeing a cute green tank top that she promptly adds to her list.
And what is she looking for?
Well, it’s got to have some flair. She says she’s always tried to look unique, even when she didn’t have the cash to spend on designer duds.
“When I was in school, I just had my own little style ... I always wanted to be different, and stand out,” she says, in her husky, Southern draw. “I would make my own outfits, and people would say, ‘What she got on?”’
'It's just not me'While she’s now got enough money and fame now to do the designer-only look, Fantasia doesn’t find herself in fancy name brands too often.
“If I don’t get it from a stylist ... “ she says, before breaking into laughter. “I’m such a country girl from home, I don’t know much about nothin’. Once I get it, I say, ‘You know, I like that, I like that style — get me some more of them!”’
Which is just the kind of attitude she has while shopping. When she sees a glittery white capelet at H&M, she scoops it up — and gets the same exact thing in black. And she grabs the white tank top along with the green. She also finds a denim trench coat that suits her fancy — just the kind of thing that she might find herself wearing on tour.
“(I like) mostly jeans and suit jacket, a nice little shirt,” she says. “I hop around on stage too much to be wearing a gown — I’ll trip!”
She takes the coat, along with a couple of armloads full of other items, to the dressing room to sort out the must-haves from the must-nots.
Few are flung into the must-not pile. She loves the jacket, loves the tops, and even gets the store to take the belt off the mannequin for her to put on her tab. One blah shirt, though, she discards.
“I don’t like that style,” she sniffs. “It’s a little older. It’s just not me.”
In the end, a few hundred dollars worth of accessories and clothes are snagged — and despite the presence of her stylists, it’s all about Fantasia’s style.