It's impossible to think of prolific jazz singer, Billie Holiday, without making reference to her incredible sartorial choices. The reign of the influential musician – who regularly used her platform to bring attention to civil rights activism and anti-racist work – continues to live on and is now being immortalised in a new biopic, The United States Vs Billie Holiday. But how does one recreate Holiday's iconic through film? By enlisting the help of luxury fashion house Prada, of course.
For the film, which brings to light the challenges of Bille Holiday's life as a struggling addict and Black woman in America, Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels collaborated with the fashion house to recreate some of the singer's most memorable stage looks. Together with the film's costume designer Paolo Niedduo, the creative duo designed nine breathtaking, standout looks for Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Andra Day to wear in the film.
Prada delved deep into their archives as a reference point for reinterpreting Holiday's style and signature looks – simultaneously incorporating a discerning, but modern eye to bring the costumes to life.
"I went through every single collection on Vogue Runway then started eBaying vintage magazines because I wanted to flip through a magazine rather than print an image," Daniels revealed in an interview.
"We were inspired by a dress from Fall 2017 and then referenced the shoulders from the Resort 2011 collection [for another look]. Then we had hundreds of reference photos of Billie to select from too."
The result of the collaboration includes a heavenly assortment of silk satin evening gowns in a 1950’s silhouette and an unmissable column dress in double ivory silk satin with a sweetheart neckline and precious crystal embroidery.
See the standout designs come to life in the trailer below.
"Holiday’s style, like her voice, was melodic and powerful, mirroring her classically iconic and beautifully complex influence on our cultural landscape."
The United States vs. Billie Holiday is set to premier on Hulu February 26.