Lil Nas X's Custom Coach Concert Outfits Use 2 Million Rhinestones
Disco Daddy + Lil Nas X + Coach = ✨💎
Vincent Michael Braccia, the artist behind the rhinestone embellishments on some of Lil Nas X’s custom Coach tour ‘fits, is just as effervescent as his fashion moniker, Disco Daddy, suggests. After starting his brand in 2020, he’s made a name for himself “stoning” costumes for some of music’s biggest names. Braccia’s creations, worn by Lizzo, Joe Jonas, and Doja Cat, can include up to 500,000 rhinestones each, according to him, and weigh up to 20 pounds. While stoning a ‘fit, he’s been known to buy up all the rhinestones in the country, forcing him to find international suppliers. Adding Disco Daddy levels of bling is always a wild ride, and Lil Nas X’s tour ‘fits were no exception. In an exclusive conversation with Elite Daily, Braccia breaks down how he turned 2 million loose rhinestones into the detailing on some of the world’s coolest tour looks for one of music’s biggest baddies.
Lil Nas X finally embarked on Long Live Montero, his first tour, on Sept. 6. After watching him perform in New York on Sept. 20, I can tell you personally that it’s an out-of-this-world experience. thanks in large part to the costumes. The jaw-dropping looks were designed by Coach’s Creative Director, Stuart Vevers, in collaboration with Lil Nas X, and stoned by Braccia. Every ‘fit was fire, but his “Call Me By Your Name” outfit is the most dazzling of all. With over 350,000 stones, the butterfly crop top and jean-style pants could blind someone all the way in the nosebleed seats.
Long Live Montero isn’t the first Lil Nas X Disco Daddy Rodeo. In the past, the two have teamed up to create the rapper’s birthday outfit, a rhinestoned football uniform, as well as a sequined denim and tank top look. Ahead, Disco Daddy spills behind-the-scenes details on his experience adding embellishments to Lil Nas X’s tour ‘fits that will have your jaw on the floor.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: What story are you and Lil Nas X trying to tell with his current tour fashion?
Vincent Braccia: I was approached by Coach to do some embellishing for the outfits. I think they wanted to make a really bold statement for his first tour [and] really play into the queer references which I love — [it’s] very Disco Daddy.
ED: How many stones did you use to create Lil Nas X's ‘fits?
VB: I would say it has to be well over 300,000 in total for everything, if not 500,000, but I don't really count like that. It's wearable art, more like, "I think this goes here, and that doesn't belong there, so I'm going to take all of these off.” So there's not that much of a counting method that's happening. But it is well over 300,000.
ED: How many hours did you spend stoning all the tour ‘fits?
VB: We had about two and a half weeks to get everything done. Collectively with my team, it had to be well over 200 hours, I would say, per outfit.
ED: What was it like to develop the stone look for Lil Nas X? Was he involved in the creative process?
VB: For sure. When I was approached with the sketches, they were just a color reference. There were no direct colors given to me, so I got to get fabric swatches, lay down some ideas, let them know what I like, but also give options. Then they brought it to [Lil Nas X], and he and his team got to choose. There was a little bit of a back and forth, probably for a month, and then finally, we settled on an idea.
ED: Where did the inspiration come from?
VB: I think that the butterfly top and the denim is very early 2000s. It gives me Mariah, but also, my references are like Bob Mackie and Cher in the '70s so it's very that kind of little tiny top and a gorgeous, flowy, flouncy flare pant. So, yeah, those are my references, and they're stitched together.
ED: Can you talk us through how you came up with the pink football uniform-inspired look?
VB: Yeah, Lil Nas loves football, and I actually made his 23rd birthday party outfit. He wanted a football look, a football jersey that had his age on the back, and I think he kind of played off that [for] the tour costume. Then, we made all the dancer costumes with a varsity letter M for Montero and a little matching football short.
ED: How long did it take to make?
VB: Just his [costume] alone probably took about almost 200 hours. It's very hard to work with a stretch material like that, so you have to do it very meticulously and carefully and use a smaller size of stone, so that took a little bit longer than you would think it took. And, as I was doing it, I would send it to rehearsal and get feedback on it.
ED: I'm personally obsessed with the Y-leg white jean and crop top moment. Can you talk us through that look?
VB: Yeah. What I like to do with crystals is make them look as realistic as possible, so I have to create the shadows and the dimensions and the highlight that would normally be there. But when you add one color crystal to a whole pant, you lose all of that dimension. It’s just sparkly. That's what's most exciting for me. I got to build in the shadow of the pants, using dark browns and dark golds. Then, as you go up, it fades into a gradient of light golds, but also, where there would be a crease in the pant, I added a crease, and where the crotch would have shadowing, I did all that.
I've done this a few times. I actually did a very similar pair of jeans for him for a Vitamin Water campaign he did earlier this summer. With the butterfly top, it was the same thing because they wanted it to be more of an aura of a butterfly instead of like a prominent butterfly in the chest, so I got to kind of fade it in, fade it out, and made it just look really, really subtle.
ED: It's gorgeous. How many stones do you think that look took, and how long did it take?
VB: For the butterfly one, I would say about 350,000 rhinestones. I used so many different sizes, so there are some really, really baby ones on there. That one took the longest, for sure. Plus, with every tour, there's a duplicate outfit just in case anything happens, so I had to do it all over again. I would say that one total look — I did the top, the pants, the shoes, and the backpack that held the wings — was probably about 400 hours.
ED: What's your favorite look from the tour?
VB: Definitely that one. That was the one I was most excited about. Also, I felt like it was the easiest for me to show what I can do, have my little creative take on it, and get to use a bunch of different colors.
ED: With so many rhinestones, are any of these pieces very heavy to wear?
VB: Oh, that outfit has to be at least... I would say head to toe, it's probably about 20-ish pounds at least, which was a big factor in the rehearsal process, too. I told them ahead of time, just so everyone's prepared for choreography and movement and all of that, and I think they rehearsed with weights in the jeans just to prep him for that. Plus, I don't want any surprises, like, "Hey, I know you're rehearsing in sweatpants, but here are these 20-pound pants. Good luck!"
ED: It'd be shocking!
VB: Oh, yeah. Exactly, but I think as a top star who's traveling the world, that's what you want. [You want] to feel like you're wearing the best of the best. Handmade. That was the goal.
ED: And made with love, of course.
VB: Yeah, exactly. So much love.
ED: How did you and Lil Nas X get connected?
VB: We met through his stylist Hodo. I believe the first thing I did for him was a rhinestone microphone for his Saturday Night Live performance. I did one for Dua Lipa and that introduced me to [Hodo]. A lot of what I've done throughout my career is made outfits for me and my friends that showcase what I can do. I made something similar to the birthday outfit I made for him. I made myself a gold denim look and that inspired the gold denim look for this.
He's obviously the biggest queer pop star in the world right now, and what I do is very in line with that. It's for the stage, it's queer-centric, and it matches perfectly with his aesthetic, so it just made sense that we worked together.
ED: Was that, would you say, the most collaborative of the looks?
VB: I think probably the gold denim. From the beginning, they knew exactly what they wanted and I sent a lot of swatches of what I thought [would work]. We got to collaborate the most on that, all through Coach. It was a team effort of Coach involvement, brand ambassador involvement, and then Lil Nas' team. At the end of the day, I think everyone, including myself, loved what we came up with, and it was exactly what we wanted.
ED: Is there anything you learned about Lil Nas X that would surprise our readers?
VB: I don't know if I learned it or if it was necessarily a surprise, but I was really appreciative of how hard he was working on the tour. They were rehearsing 24/7. I was just a bystander, but it seemed like he had his hand in every part of the show. He wanted everything to be perfect, which totally makes sense, but I don't think that's the case for everyone. He was wholeheartedly invested in the show and the look, to the point of, “The length of the pants should be this, and this should fit like this, and I love this, and I want to move like this," which is smart as an artist. It's really helpful to know exactly what your client wants and then fulfill those needs. He's also super fun, and his online persona is exactly how he is, which I love. I met him at his birthday party, too, and it was a great experience.
ED: What was the weirdest request you got from him and or his team? Was there anything that was super out of the box?
VB: The thing is I am a can-do person, so if you ask me to do something, I'll do it. Honestly, the hardest thing that I had to work with was the timeline. Every question was like, "Oh, we would love to do this. Is it even possible?" I'm like, "Yeah, it's possible. Let's do it." Everything they asked was not without reason, and it was within my capabilities to do. It was just a very quick-moving process, and I'm glad that everything got done.
ED: What is, do you think, the highest number of stones you've ever used on any celebrity costume?
VB: On anything? Let's think. I definitely think well over half a million on a single thing. Probably, I work with Violet Chachki a lot, and her outfits are always above and beyond. But I actually think that even some stuff that I've made myself... I'm trying to think of something. I might say that this is probably the most, as far as the tour in general, definitely the most crystals I've used. On the dancers, his pink outfit, and his gold outfit were well over a million, I would say.
VB: Exactly. And then duplicates of everything, so that adds to 2 million. I had to buy rhinestones from so many different vendors because I was buying them out of their whole stock of rhinestones. The last order I had to get was from the U.K., because I think there were no more gold stones in the U.S.
ED: Wow. It's all Lil Nas X's fault.
VB: It is. There's a drought now.
ED: Do you have any advice for people that want to jazz up their own clothes with stones at home?
VB: Well, first of all, do it. That's how I got started. I would go to Michael's and buy a 12-pack of rhinestones. I grew up as a dancer, and I was always jealous that all the girl dancers got to have all of the sparkly costumes, so I would go spend $4 and buy some rhinestones and add them to myself. I learned from what I did, and it is just practice until it gets perfect, but I think clothing should always be a statement, and it should always represent you.
I don't have any interest in being the most subtle person in the room or not being noticed, so I only want to make clothes that stand out, that people notice, that people want to take pictures of. Especially in today's day and age, it's so digital, and everyone's always filtering through life. You learn [about current events] on your phone, you see the concerts on your phone, you see everything on your phone, so having something be a standout moment and take over the internet with how gorgeous it feels nice, and I think everyone should strive for that.
ED: What's next for you?
VB: Oh, what's next? I did some things for Lizzo's tour so that'll be exciting. I want to actually do my new collection by the end of the year, and it's going to be really, really cool. It's a new, very '70s-inspired, very comfy, and gets some cool people in the campaign, so TBD. Can't say too much about it, but yeah, those are the next two things on the docket. I’ll also be trying to get into art — crystal art pieces and canvases and stuff like that — but I’ll always do clothing because I love it.
Update: This story was updated from its original version on 10/10/22.
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