2019, your “bad bitch” anthem has arrived early—with fashion forecasting, to boot. The bevy of bad bitches here at The Root all asked to start our holiday weekends early after Cardi B (finally!) dropped the video for “Money” on Friday, because we needed as much time as possible to watch it on a loop. (Seriously, though. I’m already on my 44th viewing, and I’ve never been a member of #BardiGang—before today.)
What did we love? What’s not to love? Got a problem with Cardi’s stripper past? Well, watch her throw money at herself working that pole, and think about your life choices. Want to put her in a box? Not if she puts herself in one first. Want to call her work and style derivative? She learned from the best—and pays tribute.
Wanna diss Cardi’s mothering skills? She will swiftly remind you that KKC (that’s Kulture Kiari Cephus, y’all) always comes first. The rest? It’s called multitasking... getchu some. While Cardi B may not offer up your brand of feminism (or relationship goals—but that really ain’t none of our business), The Root’s legion of bad bitches is entirely here for this unabashed and unapologetic display of sass, skills and sex. So brace yourselves, because this is the energy we’re taking into 2019. Whoo!
(And don’t @ me about it. In the words of The Root’s resident “Cardi-ologist,” Monique Judge, “I said what I said”—and I’m not known for mincing words.)
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest and we’ve all had our chance to recover from the epic stunting this woman pulled on us this with this drop, let’s get down to the real nitty-gritty, which is the fashun Ms. Belcalis Almanzar serves in the space of three minutes and 25 seconds.
“Ten different looks and my looks all kill...” I technically only counted eight, but yes, Ma’am. Yes, they did. (Oh, wait. Did the wig change and Beats headphones count as their own looks? Yes? Then 10, it was!) And if you were counting, there were exactly 10 of Cardi’s best-known past looks flanking her plexiglass-framed “performance art,” just there to remind us that she’s been killing the game for a minute.
But with more “Money” comes more budget, and this one certainly didn’t go to waste; Cardi’s standby stylist Kollin Carter pulled out all the stops to let us know that our regular, shmegular, degular girl has arrived at megastardom, and that accordingly, he now has designers on speed dial.
Because no shade, but this wasn’t no Fashion Nova, baby.
Carter graciously credited every designer involved, but you know we like to break things down for ourselves here at The Glow Up. So, let’s start with that opening ensemble, where Cardi came through like a psychedelic madonna. British designer Gareth Pugh’s studio dug in their archives for this look, which was perhaps Cardi’s most surreal styling since her Invasion of Privacy cover look. We don’t know the year it first hit the runway, but we love a woman who knows how to make an entrance.
She might “bring brass knuckles to the scuffle,” but for Cardi’s museum-worthy moment, stylist Carter returned to designer Christian Cowan to create yet another iconic look for the star. Her Nefertiti-inspired crown and bodysuit said “watch the throne” (see what I did there?), while the shoes were a collaboration with none other than Giuseppe Zanotti.
Aside from designing Cardi’s Invasion of Privacy suit, Cowan also designed the gold watch-laden opera-length gloves worn in the cover art for this new single. And fun fact: they were originally considered by Rihanna for her British Vogue September issue cover shoot. Awestruck, Rih memorably (but admiringly) quipped: “This is the most ghetto shit I’ve ever seen in my life.” We’re now glad that moment didn’t happen, since we got this one.
That Lil’ Kim tribute? That was courtesy of metalsmith to the stars Laurel Dewitt, who also created the chain-trimmed lid Cardi wore for the “Money” promotional artwork (which might’ve actually been the original 10th look, since it too was shot by the video’s director, frequent Cardi collaborator Jora Frantzis).
The first “bring your breastfeeding baby to work” look Cardi rocked was a gothic number by Ashi Studio, who also designed the show-stopping fuchsia tulle dress Beyoncé recently wore onstage at the Global Citizen Festival. Come through, platinum parenting! (We later catch a glimpse of the full-length gown with a dramatic, sculptural black wig change.)
Obviously, Cardi’s fifth look involved nothing at all...except her tattoos, many, many inches of hair and a sinister set of custom-made knuckle rings from Japanese dentist and jewelry-maker Fangophilia. Talk about “naked and afraid”...
When the Bardi Gang bounces back in fuchsia to get in formation? Those custom looks were created by designer Bryan Hearns, who may now be personally responsible for our summer bodies, because... damn.
Sarah Sokol designed the hats for that scene, as well as the obscenely wide-brimmed black hat Cardi wore in the next, paired with a ruffled leather bustier by Robert Wun. Consider yourselves warned and protect your neck accordingly, because Bardi Gang is going to be insufferably extra in the club next year.
The music industry’s breakout star proudly revisited her exotic dancing roots in a custom bodysuit by Shane Justin, via Dare to Be Vintage. Because life is a cabaret, old chum. So come to the cabaret... Cardi style.
Again... whoo! Cardi wore us out with this video, and like you, we now need a holiday. But if you’re curious to know how much talent it took to get this “Money” made—and the IGs of all those models and dancers—director Frantzis credited each and every one.
Night, y’all... let’s make that “Money” in 2019!