Lil’ Kim may be internationally known, but the Brooklyn native still dresses like a New Yorker. “I wear a lot of black all year long,” she tells Vanity Fair of her approach to fall fashion. “So not many changes. Just more layers and textures. Up the glam factor.”
And as the new face of Mackage’s fall-winter 2022 collection, Kim has done exactly that. In the campaign lensed by Drew Vickers and styled by Malina Joseph Gilchrist, the rapper and fashion plate models the Canadian luxury brand’s debut monogram line in a figure-skimming bodysuit.
“It feels right, you know. This brand is growing so quickly now, but it had to come up year by year building its credibility because people genuinely loved the crazy quality, style, and dramatic fit,” she explains. “It’s the real deal, and so am I.”
Mackage was launched in 1999 by founder and chief creative officer Eran Elfassy. He selected Kim as the face of the brand’s newest collection because of what she’s represented since she first made hip-hop history with her 1996 album, Hard Core. “There was a synergy culturally and from a nostalgic perspective,” Elfassy said in a press release. “Kim has always created iconic powerful looks, and there is power in the way she represents herself.”
That era-defining and no-holds-barred sense of style that cemented Kim’s role in pop culture comes from a mix of confidence and creative expression. “It also makes me feel protected. Fashion can be like armor, and it also emboldens and energizes me,” she says.
Being fearless in the name of fashion and serving as a designer’s muse go hand in hand for a trendsetting emcee, who has been credited with popularizing everything from pasties to neon furs to all-over logos. “Early days I worked with Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, and Marc Jacobs, and I still look to these icons as influences. With Mackage now, I just really relate to their mix of streetwear and fashion sensibilities,” Kim says.
Kim may soon have to add her 8-year-old daughter, Royal Reign, to that list of names. “She is so fiercely independent with her style and has fun with it. I used to think I influenced her, but now I’m taking notes.”