June 16, 2024

Fashion Design

Fashion Designs that Enlighten the Soul.

I’m a fashion designer – Whitney Houston helped me pay rent when I started my line but influencers are now the key

4 min read

FROM Angelina Jolie to Beyoncé, famed fashion designer Marc Bouwer is no stranger to styling the stars for red carpet events.

But his own star quality was realized early on in his couture career by one icon in particular.

Fashion designer Marc Bouwer has styled everyone from the most iconic Hollywood starlets to today's hottest social media influencers

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Fashion designer Marc Bouwer has styled everyone from the most iconic Hollywood starlets to today’s hottest social media influencersCredit: Getty
Singing superstar Whitney Houston became a fan of the fashion designer who would go on to dress her for almost every major personal and professional event of her life

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Singing superstar Whitney Houston became a fan of the fashion designer who would go on to dress her for almost every major personal and professional event of her lifeCredit: Getty

I WILL ALWAYS DESIGN FOR YOU

Bouwer, who founded his own fashion line in the early ’80s and currently has his own boutique in downtown Manhattan in New York City, revealed that he had a very special benefactor in those early days.

After he decided to go solo on his design venture, Whitney Houston paid the South African-born Bouwer a visit while looking for a dress for her Coca-Cola commercial.

Whitney was so wowed by everything that she went home with the entire collection which included 45 fully paid-for pieces.

“Just having her as a client allowed me to keep paying my rent and go at it alone,” he told The U.S. Sun.

Read more in celebrity fashion

“I was working on the floor in my apartment sewing all of the clothes on a machine myself,” he added.

“Whitney fell in love with everything,” he continued.

It turns out that she really would always love — or at least support —Marc and his work.

He went on to design everything from her music videos to world tours, as well as her wedding dress for her 1992 nuptials to Bobby Brown.

He also designed the mother of the bride as well as bridesmaid gowns for the occasion.

Marc, a former recipient of the inaugural South American Vogue Young Designers Award, explained how a friend’s mother had originally decided to invest in the budding designer.

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He wound up breaking away from her two years later.

Being on his own gave him more freedom — but he needed a way to pay for it.

Whitney saved the day, as well as his design career.

SOCIAL MEDIA STARLETS

In order to attract a younger audience, many shows now also invite social media stars to walk the red carpet — and Bouwer knows just how dressing those influencers can make a style splash.

That’s why his Oscars and People’s Choice Awards dresses for YouTube megastar Haley Kalil got him more “social status” than outfitting an A-lister ever has.

“They breathe new life into these shows,” he said.

Famous influencer Haley Kalil shows off her own Marc Bouwer creation to her millions of social media followers while walking the red carpet at the Oscars

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Famous influencer Haley Kalil shows off her own Marc Bouwer creation to her millions of social media followers while walking the red carpet at the OscarsCredit: Getty

“It’s all about engaging a new demographic to watch these events,” he added.

One thing these social media stars do have in common with Hollywood’s top players is their glam game.

For the Academy Awards, Kalil wore a long, strapless red gown by Bouwer.

And her followers certainly noticed.

“The amount of likes and attention you get is explosive,” he said.

The social media sensation also has Marc’s couture designs to thank for some of her own clicks.

The South African-born Bouwer designed Houston's wedding gown for her 1992 nuptials to Bobby Brown

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The South African-born Bouwer designed Houston’s wedding gown for her 1992 nuptials to Bobby BrownCredit: AP:Associated Press

Kalil, who has over five million followers, was wearing a Bouwer creation in her first truly viral video that gained seven million views in one day.

While he knows the impact an influencer has, that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t still dress other starlets – almost all of them, in fact.

Most recently, he outfitted Queen Latifah in a one-of-a-kind creation for her appearance at a New York democratic fundraising event for President Biden.

STAR STYLE

Bouwer, who has dressed everyone from Charlize Theron to Toni Braxton, previously spoke with The U.S. Sun about some of his other transformative career highlights.

One such “pinch me” moment was when he dressed Angelina Jolie in a glamorous white gown in 2004.

The Queen Bee herself, Beyonce, belts out a song for World Humanitarian Day in 2012 while wearing a glam Bouwer gown

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The Queen Bee herself, Beyonce, belts out a song for World Humanitarian Day in 2012 while wearing a glam Bouwer gownCredit: United Nations

According to Bouwer, wearing the classic design while presenting at that year’s Academy Awards was “really a turning point in her career.”

“She was filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith at the time but before that, she was always seen as more of a goth girl in black dresses,” he said.

“All of a sudden she came out as this angelic beauty in a 1930s-inspired old Hollywood gown,” he added.

“She really became a philanthropic meme after this,” he continued.

The dress even came out of the vault for this year’s Vanity Fair Oscar Party, where ‘it’ girl Sydney Sweeney re-wore the gown.

If you’ve seen Shania Twain’s iconic music video for That Don’t Impress Me Much, you are already familiar with one of Bouwer’s earlier designs — her head-to-toe cheetah print outfit.

The look became so famous that it is now commonly copied and made into Halloween costumes.

He also helps stars transform their image, such as when Angelina Jolie wore an old Hollywood-inspired gown to the 2004 Oscars where she was a presenter

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He also helps stars transform their image, such as when Angelina Jolie wore an old Hollywood-inspired gown to the 2004 Oscars where she was a presenterCredit: Getty

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