“One day, he’ll wear a Western outfit, then the next he’ll wear a heavy metal look; we’ve done zoot suits, glam rock, rockabilly,” says costume designer-turned-stylist Catherine Hahn of the “Rockstar” singer’s eclectic look.
Post Malone is on top of the world. Since the release of his titanic sophomore album Beerbongs & Bentleys last April, the 23-year-old musician (born Austin Post) has become a global sensation and radio mainstay with hits like “I Fall Apart,” “Rockstar,” “Psycho” and “Better Now.” Malone is nominated in four categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Pop Solo Performance and Rap/Sung Performance) at the 61st annual Grammy Awards, where he will also perform. Concurrent with his rise to pop stardom, the face-tattooed musician (who often accessorizes with a beer-filled red Solo cup) has simultaneously had an against-all-odds ascent into Gen Z fashion darling.
Malone’s golden rule is to always trust his artistic instincts and link up with collaborators who align with that vision. Enter Catherine Hahn. The costume designer-turned-stylist earned her stripes with credits including New Girl, Superbad and Knocked Up; admiring her film work, Malone asked his label to track her down for the first promo shoot for his sophomore LP. “The idea of styling someone—I was like, ‘I don’t know; can I do this?’” Hahn tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I didn’t think of myself in that capacity, but everyone I talked to about Post was like ‘Oh my God, you have to do it, he’s so crazy. You’ll have so much fun.’”
Hahn’s ample experience in creating looks for characters on screen aligns with her work dressing the musician. “The best directors provide you with a backstory, so you know where they grew up, what did their parents do, what did their bedroom look like, what kind of music did they listen to, what did they do on weekends,” she explains, adding that Malone is her “greatest character” yet. “He’s an actual person obviously, but every day I’m like, ‘How did this happen?’ I feel so lucky and a lot of the stuff we’re able to create and do and pull from comes from experiences I’ve had on different film projects.”
She recalls her first meeting with Malone as instant kismet: “The second he came off the elevator, I felt like I had known him my whole life. It was a real cosmic thing. It sounds crazy, but I really felt a weird connection to him.” Hahn was uncharacteristically anxious for the surprise collaboration to be a success; turns out, it was exactly what the rising star was missing. After the one-off collab, Malone enlisted Hahn as his full-time stylist in September 2017, just before the release of his hit “Rockstar” that “propelled him to a new level,” she says of the ensuing “non-stop” year.
Together, the duo have won over the fashion circuit with Post’s signature grunge-chic style, supported by an array of vibrant over-the-top custom suits, occasionally elevated by brands such as Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana and Saint Laurent. Like his truly genre-less sound — which embraces hip-hop, pop, rock and country — Malone’s style aesthetic similarly knows no bounds. Hahn finds inspiration “everywhere” for his next-level red carpet looks, drawing on icons and his personal heroes Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Jimmy Hendrix. “His music is eclectic and his style is the same way. One day, he’ll wear a Western outfit, then the next he’ll wear a heavy metal look,” she adds. “We’ve done zoot suits, glam rock, rockabilly. He’s so smart and he knows so much about music and movies and art, it’s all over the place; there’s not just one genre.”
Custom suits have been a running theme for the flashy star, a journey that began with a last-minute request from his label for an all-red ensemble for his “Rockstar” video in 2017. “I was like, ‘I guess I just have to make something!’” she explains. Once the musician put on the form-fitting outfit, her fate was sealed. “I said, ‘Oh wait, we can just do this all the time!” At Coachella 2018, she chose a custom suit with extra large roses (sans shirt) and at the VMAs in August, she went for a playful smiley-face suit for his performance alongside Aerosmith.
For his Bud Light Dive Bar Tour in Nashville last March, Hahn hand-picked a rodeo-inspired “Nudie suit” (a style referencing the tailor Nudie Cohn who suited up Elvis and Elton John and other stars) from designer Judith Rothman-Pierce of L.A. label Rusty Cuts, known for riffs on the signature look. “That just embodied who he is,” Hahn says of the cowboy-inspired throwback ensemble, a nod to his Beerbongs & Bentleys album artwork — both yellow, accented with snakes and barbed wire. Malone has embraced the signature theme for his own merch, dropping limited runs Crocs shoes in November and December — the last release sold out in 10 minutes.
Hahn’s fashion triumph to date? The American Music Awards in October, where Malone wore a turquoise custom suit accented with snake motifs and paired with glittery boots by Scott Wayne Emmerich of Falconhead boot company.
She is hoping to raise the style bar even higher at the 2019 Grammy Awards and cites a lot of “amazing options” for his moment on music’s biggest night; two days before the event, the team is still fine-tuning looks for the red carpet and his performance, but nothing is set in stone. “I always like to make sure that he’s comfortable and doesn’t feel constricted,” she explains of his performance looks where they can have “a bit more fun,” compared to the “more formal” carpet.
“Winning a Grammy as a musician is like winning an Oscar or a Tony as an actor,” she adds. “It’s like a wedding! It’s a once in a lifetime thing, so I want it to be iconic. In my mind, he’s winning a Grammy, so it’s like ‘What do you win a Grammy in?’ I don’t know!