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Queensylvia Akuchie x Bel Air

Source: Donte Maurice / Donte Maurice

Bringing a show to life through wardrobe is no easy feat, but costume designer QueenSylvia Akuchie was up for the challenge. The talented visionary used her sharp eyes and love for distinct statement pieces while developing the wardrobe for each character in the Bel-Air reboot. Now in its second season, the show takes style and individuality to the next level with its attention to detail for each character. 

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was a monumental show that left a significant imprint on Black culture. The ’90s flare and the relative storylines made the series one of the most talked about sitcoms of our time. Along with the show’s relatable content were the vibrant style trends. Will’s character had a love affair with sneakers and jerseys, while Carlton was known for his polished look, which often included printed sweaters and cardigans. Hilary donned a classic style that often featured matching sets, fun headbands and an array of expensive accessories.

When the reboot of the cult-classic TV show was announced, people had a question: would the show be able to align with the hype of the original series? Now, one year after the reboot debut, the show has exceeded expectations, and Bel-Air is back for a second stylish, drama-filled season.

We sat down with QueenSylvia to discuss all things Bel-Air. From her inspiration behind this season’s looks to the style motifs throughout the series. She gives us the lowdown on what we can expect from our favorites this season.

HB: What was your direction, your inspiration for this season?

QueenSylvia: It was culture. I wanted to showcase everyone’s personality and every character through different facets. This is an influential Black family. Everyone has their own look, their own style and their own aesthetic. So my goal was to show the culture in that and how everyone is different and show everyone’s personality and look, which people can relate to as well. Outfits that people can see themselves in and buy themselves. I wanted to showcase the culture of African Americans, Africans and the diaspora. You’ll see prints from West Africa and clothing lines from here in LA and from Philadelphia.

HB: I saw a clear style motif of the characters. I already know Jazz is going to have a fly collection of cardigans. Karrueche is going to kill it with bold colors and Hilary is going to kill it with her matching sets.

QueenSylvia: When I started to do the storyboards and mood boards for this season, my goal was: would the audience be able to understand and see what I would like them to grasp from each of these characters? Knowing that you’ve seen episodes one through three and that it did transcend puts a big smile on my heart to know that it shows, and people can see it.

HB: I noticed there’s also a story with the accessories.

QueenSylvia: Let’s talk about Aunt Viv’s accessories. I collaborated with a UK-Ugandan designer. The company’s name is Umutoni. A lot of Aunt Viv’s jewelry was handmade in Uganda. It just shows her global flair. She’s kind of like the Michelle Obama you saw in the White House; the eight years she was there was season one. Season two is the Michelle Obama we know now, and that’s who Aunt Viv is. She’s free, colorful, bold and unapologetic, and she can show her craftsmanship through her art. And that’s also what I wanted to showcase as well. A lot of the inspiration for this season for everyone is culture. You know, it goes back to even to Jeffrey, Will and whatever that culture is for that character. Whether it’s West Philadelphia or it’s LA.

HB: Who would you say, out of all the outfits and characters on this show, is your favorite to style? And what is the most memorable look from this season?

QueenSylvia: That’s a hard one. Everyone is so different in their capacities; I have one for each person.

For Hillary, it is the red and black cheetah print Roberto Cavalli piece. When I saw it, I immediately gagged and was like, this is who Hillary 2.0 is. It gave me a bit of who Hillary in the original Fresh Prince was and who Hillary is this season. I paired the look with the pantaboots, where the boot and the pant connect.

For Jazz, it is the FUBU jersey in episode four or five. It gave that essence of the ’90s. That 90s feel you felt back in the day; the For Us, By Us vibe connects the culture to now. Carlton has so many. There’s a particular piece that is from Andre Leon Tally’s collection. It’s this nice zip-front cardigan/sweatshirt that he wore.

Jeffrey wore a nice two-piece set from Ozwald Boateng customized just for him from the UK. That piece is unique because, one, it was customized, and two, it just goes back to Jeffrey’s character being from the UK. This designer is from the UK and Ghana, and Jeffrey himself is from West Africa, Nigeria. That piece was very special to me.

Aunt Viv has so many; this is hard. In the trailer, she wears a primarily red multicolor suit made by a designer from West Africa. This suit brought her business aesthetic and her artistry together.

Uncle Phil is one of my favorites. He wore an olive green Paul Smith suit that fits him well. For Will, oh God, he has so many as well. My favorite look is in episode 10. He wears this beautiful orange tuxedo jacket. It’s beautiful, and it fits him so well. The color is transformative, and no one expects anyone to wear an orange tux jacket.

My favorite look for Ashley is also in episode 10. It tells a story of who her character has been and who her character has become. She wears a beautiful two-piece Alice and Olivia multicolored suit with butterflies. It tells the story of her being in her cocoon during season one and most of season two. And in the last episode of season two, she becomes a butterfly, blossoms and hatches, and we see who she is, what she’s about and where she will fly to.

HB: What advice would you give to someone who is just trying to find their style?

Queensylvia Akuchie x Bel Air

Source: Donte Maurice / Donte Maurice

Be your organic self. If you’re trying to find your style, don’t look into what’s on trend. Don’t look into what everyone else is doing. Find what you love, find your favorite color, find your favorite style, find what you feel fits your body the best, and build off that. A lot of my personal style is nothing that is in Vogue right now. I am definitely on trend, but finding who I am as a person, I didn’t find it through looking to see what others did. I had to find myself and see how that parallels what is currently on trend.

If you’re looking for a little fashion inspiration, you’ll want to tap into the second season of Bel-Air, which premieres today on Peacock.

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Wardrobe Stylist QueenSylvia Prioritizes Culture In Season 2 Of ‘Bel-Air’  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com