Advertisement

How Nicole + Felicia created 9 celebrity looks, from Taylor Swift's Eras Tour ball gowns to Jennifer Lopez's Golden Globes dress

Photo illustration of Taylor Swift, Janelle Monáe, and Jennifer Lopez.
Celebrities wearing Nicole + Felicia designs.John Shearer, Axelle Bauer-Griffin, Gilbert Flores/Getty Images; Jenny Chang-Rodriguez/BI
  • Sisters Nicole and Felicia Chang are the designers behind many celebrity looks in recent years.

  • They created ball gowns for Taylor Swift's Eras Tour and Jennifer Lopez's Golden Globes dress.

  • Speaking with Business Insider, they shared how they came up with each stunning outfit.

Designers Nicole and Felicia Chang are taking over the fashion industry, one celebrity outfit at a time.

The creative sister duo got started in 2015, founding their namesake company in Taiwan. Since then, Nicole + Felicia has become a go-to brand for celebrities around the world — Taylor Swift and Jennifer Lopez included.

The designers have also made strides in the wedding world, with a Nicole + Felicia collection at Kleinfeld that brides covet.

Speaking with Business Insider, Nicole Chang explained how the brand has worked with Hollywood, the impact of the bridal industry on its designs, and the inspirations behind nine of Nicole + Felicia's most stunning looks.

Nicole + Felicia designs are all over red carpets, magazines, and even the Eras Tour.

Nicole Chang of Nicole + Felicia.
Nicole Chang of Nicole + Felicia.Nicole + Felicia

Nicole Chang told Business Insider that she and her team approach each design differently when working with celebrities.

"We have cases where we get notified by stylists that they're interested in certain looks or that they want to create a bespoke look from an existing collection," she said. "Or we can start from scratch."

Jennifer Lopez, for example, wore a custom version of a preexisting Nicole + Felicia design at the 2024 Golden Globes.

Jennifer Lopez attends the 2024 Golden Globe Awards.
Jennifer Lopez wears Nicole + Felicia at the 2024 Golden Globe Awards.Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

The strapless gown with a rose-shaped shawl was originally designed in ivory for the Nicole + Felicia F/W 2024 bridal collection. But for the Golden Globes, Lopez's team requested the dress in a custom shade.

Nicole + Felicia presented a few options, Chang told BI, and Lopez's stylist, Rob Zangardi, chose a pale pink.

"They only gave us a week, I think, and the whole team was working on the gown," she added.

Still, Chang said it was a surprise when Lopez stepped onto the carpet wearing the dress because celebrities rarely guarantee they'll wear a design. In most cases, she pointed out, stars don't get to see or try on designer pieces until the day of events.

But in this case, Lopez loved the look — possibly because it matched the pink florals in her "Can't Get Enough" music video.

"It was a coincidence," Chang said. "We later found out that she recently released her new single, and her whole theme was roses and flowers."

Florals were also a big part of Janelle Monáe's ensemble at the 2024 pre-Grammy Gala.

Janelle Monáe attends the pre-Grammy gala in Los Angeles, California, on February 3, 2024.
Janelle Monáe wears Nicole + Felicia at the 2024 pre-Grammy Gala.Gilbert Flores/Getty Images

Though the two-piece set was custom-made for Monáe, Chang said it was inspired by the Nicole + Felicia F/W 2024 evening collection.

"We were going through fittings internally — I was taking pictures of models and seeing how the fitting went — and her stylist just happened to reach out and ask if we had any styles that would fit her," Chang said of working with Monáe's team.

So, while looking at a gown from the collection — a black, strapless piece with two gold roses across the chest — Chang said she knew a custom version of it would suit the musician.

Nicole + Felicia created a black bralette adorned with the brand's signature florals, a high-waisted skirt, and a rose-covered choker that extended down Monáe's back.

"I think that's what made the whole gown really special," Chang said of the latter piece.

And while floral embellishments are usually crafted from soft fabrics in pastel shades, Nicole + Felicia aimed to do something different.

"We really wanted to make something that represents her young and fun energy and her power," Chang said. "It took about 48 hours to create two flowers. They're actually metal pieces created by hand in our studio."

"We can make this floral idea grow from just being soft and feminine to something strong," she added.

Swifties have admired Nicole + Felicia designs for months as Taylor Swift wears them on the Eras Tour.

Taylor Swift performs at the Eras Tour in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 7, 2023.
Taylor Swift wears Nicole + Felicia at the Eras Tour in Kansas City, Missouri.John Shearer/Getty Images

Though she rotates her costumes each night of the tour, Swift has at least three Nicole + Felicia designs in her arsenal for the "Speak Now" portion of the show.

Chang told BI her team first designed a sparkling purple ball gown with a sleeveless top and three-tiered skirt from 300 yards of fabric after being approached by Swift's stylist, Joseph Cassell.

But while they saw a preview of the stage and knew the dress was being created for the Eras Tour, that's about all the information Nicole + Felicia received.

"We didn't know when or where she was going to wear it," Chang said.

While creating the purple "Speak Now" dress, Swift's team requested another design from Nicole + Felicia.

Taylor Swift performs at The Eras Tour in Seattle, Washington, on July 22, 2023.
Taylor Swift wears Nicole + Felicia at the Eras Tour in Seattle, Washington.Mat Hayward/Getty Images

Amy Chen, the public relations manager for Nicole + Felicia, told BI that the brand simultaneously worked on the purple dress and a sleeveless tan ball gown covered in metallic sparkles.

"We thought they just wanted options," Chen said. "We didn't know if she would consider both, and we had no idea of the significance of the colors or anything. They kept everything very secretive and very hush hush."

"The whole process — from when we initially got in touch with the stylist, started sketching, started doing samples and showing him treatments and beading — was probably three to four months from start to finish," she added.

The designers were thrilled to create two Eras Tour looks. Then they made a third.

Taylor Swift performs at The Eras Tour in Los Angeles, California on August 9, 2023.
Taylor Swift wears Nicole + Felicia at the Eras Tour in Los Angeles, California.Kevin Winter/Getty Images

"We got a message from her stylist again, and he said that he would like to create another look — and he was very specific that it needed to be blue," Chang said.

"A very specific blue," Chen added with a laugh. "And we had no idea of the significance."

That significance, of course, is that sky blue is the color most often associated with Swift's "1989" era. So, during a Los Angeles stop of the Eras Tour, Swift wore six never-before-seen blue outfits onstage before announcing "1989 (Taylor's Version)."

One of those outfits was a blue halter gown covered in sparkling beads. It was designed by Nicole + Felicia and sent to Swift "just two or three weeks before she wore it," Chang said.

"My favorite would be the blue one because I know how much work went into it," she said. "The whole gown is fully beaded. It's not a fabric; it's literally stitch by stitch."

Nicole + Felicia even had a hand in embellishing some of Swift's onstage equipment.

taylor swift eras tour
Taylor Swift performs at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management

"For every gown that we sent them, they would request a swatch of the fabric that we use for the gown," Chang said.

That fabric was then used to create guitar straps, cover the battery packs Swift wore on her clothes, and match microphone casings to her outfits.

Rewinding to 2022, the designers were responsible for one of the best red-carpet looks at the Cannes Film Festival.

Leonnie Hanne attends the "Top Gun : Maverick" screening during the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
Leonie Hanne wears Nicole + Felicia at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.Patricia de Melo Moreira/Getty Images

All eyes turned to German influencer Leonie Hanne that year as she arrived wearing a hot-pink gown made from tulle.

The dress had giant puff sleeves, a cutout bodice, a tutu-style miniskirt, and a long train that flowed behind her.

"Leonie, I would say, she's always very last-minute," Chang said with a laugh. "She always has so many ideas and will pop out and say, 'Hey guys, I'm going to Cannes in two weeks. Could you create a look?' And we always have so much fun working with her."

After wearing a tulle Nicole + Felicia look in 2021, the designer said Hanne wanted to go bigger the following year.

"She wanted a pop of color," Chang said. "I remember we were choosing from a few really bright pink colors, and she wanted to have a dramatic shoulder. So we created that for her as well."

Celebrities are just as drawn to Nicole + Felicia's bridal gowns as they are custom looks.

Naomi Campbell attends the Hia Magazine 30th Anniversary Gala in Saudia Arabia.
Naomi Campbell wears Nicole + Felicia at the Hia Magazine 30th Anniversary Gala.Neville Hopwood/Stringer/Getty Images

For a 2023 magazine event in Saudi Arabia, supermodel Naomi Campbell wore a black wedding dress designed by Nicole + Felicia for the brand's S/S 2023 bridal collection.

Though the strapless dress was originally paired with a gold cape, Campbell wore it with a sheer one covered in sparkles.

"Starting in 2023, we went in a really modern and fun direction for bridal and designed for brides looking for something special," Chang said. "And after Jennifer Lopez requested one of our bridal looks to be made into an evening look, I feel like they're going in the same direction. Our bridal and evening looks have a more similar design identity now."

That said, it's Nicole + Felicia's ability to merge Hollywood glamour, bridal fashion, and unique fabrics that keeps the brand on top.

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan attends the "Never Have I Ever" premiere in Los Angeles, California.
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan wears Nicole + Felicia at the 2023 "Never Have I Ever" premiere.Charley Gallay/Stringer/Getty Images

Also in 2023, actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan wore a golden ball gown created for the S/S 2023 bridal collection at the "Never Have I Ever" premiere.

Chang said the gown was the ultimate example of the brand's ability to mix bridal with red-carpet fashion.

"We always want to experiment in different areas of fabrication," Chang said. "We look for new vendors and suppliers, and we are always looking for new things to add to our bridal collection. It's not always just lace and tulle. There has to also be something new that attracts people to look at your collection."

Read the original article on Business Insider