Was it the underwear? The skintight shirts? Mahmood’s Klan video became the most discussed in recent Style the Beat memory. There hasn’t been this much excitement over tighty-whities since those CK ads in the 1990’s! In this post we meet the stylist behind those looks and take a look at a few Must-See Mahmood vids.
Mahmood is one of Italy’s most successful musical exports. Part of his growing crossover appeal is the fantastic fashion storytelling of his recent music videos. The minimalist homoeroticism in Rapide, mythical beauty of Inuyasha, subtle Egyptology on Dorado, the Fast & Furious vibes of Kobra and those show-stopping pants in the Talata performance on Sardinia, his home-island. Given that Instagram suggests Mahmood spends most of his offstage time shirtless and barefoot (approved!), all that fashion-fashion must have been a collaborative labor of love. Meet Susanna Ausoni, the stylist who is changing “Italian” style on video, live appearance, and editorial at a time.
Under her keen eye, sharpened by years as an MTV Italia image manager, Mahmood’s style is evolving into a unique visual universe with a distinct couture language akin to David Bowie, Lady Gaga or Missy Elliott. It is great to witness an artist celebrate their heritage (Egyptian-Italian-Sardinian) without exploiting style stereotypes. The fashion industry is paying attention: Riccardo Tisci and Jean-Paul Gaultier stan Mahmood. We reached out to Susanna for a blitz interview:
How do you balance tradition and fantasy and latest trends in your work?
I am never influenced by trends. When I create an image of an artist, I always start with the music itself and then their personality. Some projects may require more of a futurist aesthetic, others call for a revisited retro vibe. There is usually no idea of a definite time. The storytelling power of a stylist is to mix different worlds, get rid of stereotypes, and create new imaginaries.
How do you approach work on a music video vs. an editorial or a red-carpet event?
Music video is a small film. It must be treated this way. It is not a photo, nothing is static. Depending on different technicalities, you make sure the clothes and images follow the stories in the songs.
Do you have a favorite Mahmood look from your music videos?
All Mahmood looks are special because he is special.
Check out Mahmood’s recent videos and appreciate the glory of Susanna’s styling:
Bonus question: which Italian stylist deserves extra attention now?
Nicolo Cerioni is my favorite. He worked with me on MTV years ago. He is the stylist for Måneskin [ed. reigning Eurovision rockstars] and singer Achille Lauro. Molto bravo!
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