For last week’s Met Gala, Grimes wore a dune-inspired reptilian dress and carried a steel sword made from a melted AR-15 rifle. The woman who put the set together is a stylist named Turner, a former accessory editor at Jane magazine, who was Grimes stylist for six years.
Raised in Alexandria, Va., Turner (her last name) studied graphic design at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where an instructor told her she was clearly a stylist. While her roster includes Kim Gordon, Kesha and other musicians, her most loyal client is also her first: Grimes. They met in 2015, days after Turner, 40, moved to Los Angeles and a Nylon magazine fashion editor asked her if she would style Grimes for a cover. The two hit it off and have worked together ever since. Turner shared a glimpse into Grimes’ style.
What was the idea of ââthe sword?
That’s still Grimes’ idea. But his manager was the person who brought in MSCHF [the Brooklyn artist collective that designed the sword]. We also knew that bringing a sword to the Met Gala was going to be tricky. I persisted in trying to get permission for this sword. When I brought her to the mat, there was a security guard who said, “I’m sorry, you can’t bring this.” And I had to say, âNo, the sword has to come in. It has been cleaned up.
Grimes wore a futuristic silk dress from Iris van Herpen, who is Dutch. Did you intentionally sidestep this year’s theme of American independence?
No. I had a conversation with Grimes: What is American fashion? What does it mean? Is it a fence? Is it a horse? Is it the flag? She said: “I really identify with Dune, the American book, then the American film.” Iris submitted a sketch which was perfect – it looked like all the references Grimes had sent. There is no other designer who does what Iris does. She’s so technically brilliant: she had 3D printed silicone reptilian scales that were stuck on. Who else does this?
What about the boots?
It is in fact Marc Jacobs. I got them through an amazing collector named Johnny at Pechuga Vintage here in LA. The shoes must work. It must be something they can walk on. In the case of Grimes, you need a lot of height and a lot of ankle support. It lends itself to this warlike atmosphere.
And she wears metal elf ears.
These ears weren’t the ones she was supposed to wear. Originally we had elven ears custom made by Lillian Shalom, who spent 90 hours on them, but they weren’t sitting properly on the ear. And we were crushed, but we had a save, because Grimes pulled another pair out of his bag. It is just personal jewelry for her.
So why a sword?
Looks like it’s an extension of her. We have already seen it in videos. It’s a direct reference to everything she dreamed of in her next vision for her next cycle.
His next cycle of records. In the months leading up to a record’s release, there is a bible that she created of what she imagines herself to be, where she will take her music, where her music will live, who she will go with. collaborate. She’s like the creative director. She has to put together a team, a squadron if you will, of people who are going to do the job.
And are you in uniform?
I wish that. I come from a military family. My father was a photographer on an air base. I watched my dad take some great pictures of people. Not celebrities. Just normal guys. He taught me how to style a portrait, like how to tuck the shirt in so that it was super tight and didn’t leave any creases around the waistline. He told me which colors went well with people’s skin tones.
Have you always been interested in fashion?
In high school, I saw this episode of MTV’s âHouse of Styleâ with Anne Christensen working in the Vogue fashion closet. I watched it over and over on VHS because we didn’t have cable. I saw a bunch of shoes and clothes shelves, and that’s when I realized there was a job where you can put clothes on people. When I arrived in New York, I got an assistant job at T: The New York Times Style Magazine under the direction of Anne Christensen. This is the most exciting thing that has happened to me.
What is the story behind this name: Turner?
When I was 10, my best friend Kristina Buddenhagen and I met in elementary school. Our two mothers are Vietnamese, and we had the same name but a different spelling: I’m Christina. She started calling me “Turner”, my last name, because our mothers were calling one of us and we were both running. And it followed me. It’s not like I’m trying to draw attention to myself, but it’s been a really good branding.
How has Grimes’ look evolved over the six years you’ve worked together?
When I first met Grimes, she was buying stuff on Depop and Etsy, and I think she still does. She was very used to dressing up, and over time there is a lot of confidence. She made me bring designers, like Iris. She is in her thirties now. It’s not a girl. She is a representation of a powerful woman.
Who else do you work with?
I worked with Kim Gordon for a long time. She’s a neighbor, and I go there every two weeks and we plan her wardrobe and it’s surreal. Kim has great relationship advice. I have also just started working with Kesha. I believe in her.
What attracts you to these strong women artists, and them to you?
I respect their vision. I hear them. I’m getting to know them. Also I am a nice guy. My core mission is to help my clients say what they want through the visual and tangible medium of what they wear. I would like to think that I give them armor to take over the world.
The interview has been modified.