Leon Bridges is a man of music and equal connoisseur of sophistication — right down to his Texan cowboy boots.
The Grammy award-winning artist frequently enlightens legions of fans with his super chic style both on stage and the red carpet. It comes as no surprise then to hear he’s recently been busy in New York City attending the Met Gala along with an upcoming performance at the 2021 Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.
Calling Dallas-Fort Worth home, Bridges regularly wears — and paying homage to — true Americana style, and as a seamless collaboration, partnered with crafts-aesthetic label Bode for his look to the Met. Donning a cowboy look, from head to toe, the “Beyond” singer strutted the Met staircase with swagger as a guest of Cartier, where he opted to choose a necklace from the jeweler that reminded him of a bolo tie — in quintessential Texan form.
As he prepares for the Emmy’s, while concurrently crisscrossing the country for various performances, Bridges was able to squeeze in some time with FN to hear about his recent experiences in NYC, current footwear obsessions and why he will only wear boots and loafers.
Can you give us a sneak peak of what song you’ll be performing during your upcoming Emmy performance?
Leon Bridges: “I’m really excited about it! It’s my first time performing at The Emmy’s. I’ll be playing an original song of mine called ‘River’ with my good friend Jon Batiste, who will also be playing with me. The segment itself is the In Memoriam where The Emmy’s honors actors and people in the industry who have passed away. It’s an honor to be asked to perform during such an emotional segment.”
Can you share with us a little about your Emmy look? And of course, specifically your footwear.
LB: “My good friend and stylist, Gabriela Tena is facilitating the whole thing. We’re still working on it, but I know one of the looks is a crystallized [Swarovski] all black fit. I haven’t solidified my footwear choice yet, but I’ll probably go with a loafer or a Chelsea boot.”
You wear a healthy amount of loafer styles. What label would you say is your favorite or go-to?
LB: “For me, if it’s not a loafer or a boot, I don’t want it. Gucci is the pinnacle for me in the loafer world. They really do a good job with embodying that whole 1970s aesthetic and I really dig their Cuban loafer heel. Gucci is so dope.”
You recently attended the Met Gala. Tell us about your experience.
LB: “It was my third time going to the Met Gala and it felt like the first time. The theme of the event was right in my wheelhouse [of Americana] and when you think about the idea of men’s fashion, the cowboy look is perfect for that theme. It was a crazy event and surreal room to be in and for someone like me — it’s awesome to be there with people I look up to and for them to share that mutual appreciation. At the same time, there were also awkward moments because I don’t know a lot of people [in fashion] and I’m horrible at sparking conversations. But it was still beautiful because, there was a moment I went to the bathroom and walk in and see; Erykah Badu, Lil Nas X, Lil Uzi Vert and Jack Harlow. I said to myself, ‘Wow, this is an interesting situation right here.'”
And your look? Footwear too, of course.
LB: “I went with an all Bode look [styled by Mac Huelster], except for the hat I was wearing. Being that I’m from Texas, for me it’s important to incorporate the aesthetic of Texas in my fashion. The powder-blue fringe jacket and black shirt, black pants — and the pants almost had this crystalized affect to them with a few sequins and rhinestones. The shoes were also designed by Bode as well. My hat was designed by a brand called Kennimer Co. out of Houston, Texas.”
How about the feathers on the hat by Dirty Old Hatbands?
LB: “I wasn’t familiar with her and her designs prior to seeing the bands, but that’s one of the main aspects of the hat that drew me to it was that feathered hatband. It totally reminded me of that marriage of country and soul. You look at Bobby Womack and certain soul artists like that, to really have that western look and I think that was reflected.”
With your bolo Cartier rocks and your fringe jacket and hat, you embodied and honored a true, Texan look. What does Texan style mean to you?
LB: “When you think of the identity of Texan style, there are a few things important to that whole ‘thing’ — the basics — a cowboy hat, good pair of boots and some denim is the epitome of the Texan uniform. For myself, I want to convey that this style is not unique to white culture and that you can still be a black man and still be authentic in that style. It’s always been important for me to incorporate that aesthetic into my fashion.”
Cowboy boots are a part of your de rigueur. What are some of the best spots to find authentic styles in the Dallas-Fort Worth area?
LB: “In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I would direct people to a place called Chieffalo Americana in west Fort Worth. I like their vibe because it’s not a purist western wear store, it’s different things like vintage Gucci belts and scarves and of course cowboy boots. There’s also a place called Doc’s Records and Vintage — it’s a dual record and vintage shop together. It has a lot of great vintage boots there as well. In Dallas, I would send everyone to Dolly Python.”
You love to go vintage shopping and old school brands such as Wrangler. Why does that speak to you?
LB: “It’s all a part of my story. I’ve pretty much got discovered wearing Wrangler denim. The guy who ultimately produced my album was a big Wrangler fan and noticed I was wearing them — the rest is history. Wrangler is the pinnacle of denim. Throughout history, some prominent people have worn their stuff. If you look at Martin Luther King, the only photo of him wearing denim is Wrangler. I really love their denim which has this sewed-in crease and their rancher pant is the perfect dress pant. I’m excited to be able to do a collaboration with them. They are one of my favorite denim brands, for sure.”
Your album “Gold Diggers Sounds” certainly made an impact this year. Do you think the Grammy’s are in your future?
LB: “I really hope, that in some way, the Grammy’s see it as a great album. I hope the album gets acknowledgment and is eligible for a nomination. What’s most important is that the album resonated with a lot a people as a full body of work. I hope to get nominated again and if not, I’ll go back to the drawing board and you’ll see me make great art.”