Photography: Micheala Quan

Back­stage with Jor­ja Smith and Kali Uchis

The Kali & Jorja Tour, look by look.

Ever since Kali Uchis and Jor­ja Smith joined forces on 2018’s defin­i­tive sum­mer banger, Tyrant, we’ve been left want­i­ng more. Shar­ing sim­i­lar silky vocals and both under the age of 25, the pair are vibrant, exper­i­men­tal and impres­sive per­form­ers at the top of the con­tem­po­rary R&B game. Thank­ful­ly our thirst for Kali and Jor­ja was quenched when they kick­start­ed the appro­pri­ate­ly named The Kali & Jor­ja Tour’ at the end of last month: a co-head­lined jaunt” span­ning 18 fix­tures across North America.

While the duo’s music is always at the fore­front, Kali and Jorja’s styl­ists – Corey Stokes and Leah Abbott – work to ensure each per­for­mance is tak­en to the next lev­el, help­ing the artists look and feel their best on stage. I love going on tour and dress­ing up every night,” Jor­ja says. Leah and I work on our looks months in advance so it’s the best feel­ing when I get to wear them on stage. As long as I feel com­fort­able then it’s always per­fect.” For Vir­ginia-born, Colom­bia-raised Kali, though, it’s all about merg­ing pow­er, sex and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty. When I feel sexy, I feel my most pow­er­ful, so for me, it’s impor­tant that I embody that sex­u­al­i­ty while also still feel­ing my per­son­al taste hasn’t been lost in it,” she explains. Work­ing with Corey has been a dream because he under­stands what I want and helps ele­vate it. Cre­at­ing a world­wide phe­nom­e­non and build­ing a brand syn­ony­mous with pow­er, sex and vul­ner­a­bil­i­ty all com­bined is a process and he’s helped ful­ly facil­i­tate me in that along the way this tour.”

We joined Jor­ja and Kali back­stage on their tour to cap­ture their looks, while Leah and Corey talked us through them.

Photography: Mike Excell

The open­ing night sets the tone for the entire tour, so we went for a stand out white Orchard Corset’ and icy blue Fleur de Mal’ slip which would be re-worked in dif­fer­ent colour­ways lat­er down the line. It real­ly encom­passed and screamed the intend­ed mod­ern renais­sance’ vibe whilst remind­ing peo­ple of the clas­sic Jor­ja they love in her white Nike Air Max and crys­tal Niki­ta’ earrings.”

Photography: Mike Excell

We con­tin­ued the clas­sic corset style in the sec­ond show, which peo­ple will begin to realise ties the entire tour wardrobe togeth­er. This time, how­ev­er, we want­ed to show vari­a­tion and take it more casu­al, pair­ing the cus­tom Kess’ sil­ver top with bag­gy acid wash den­im, Air Forces and a slick back pony. Jor­ja likes to be com­fort­able on stage and so this allows her to move well and real­ly ease into the show. The trousers also had reflec­tive sil­ver strips along the bot­tom which looked insane with her new stage lighting!”

Photography: Mike Excell

Night three is always fun as it begins to feel like we have real­ly estab­lished the intend­ed vibe of the shows. We repeat­ed the corset and slip pair­ing, this time with a lime green Fleur de Mal’ cowl neck and vin­tage kha­ki boned corset, this also looked great as the two gave inter­est­ing vari­a­tion in tex­tures. Jor­ja is not afraid of bright colours and this bright green real­ly helped put the mod­ern’ in the classy renais­sance aes­thet­ic we love.”

Photography: Mike Excell

This was the first look we tried on dur­ing our fit­ting a few months ago and fell in love, mean­ing it was only right to debut it at Madi­son Square Gar­den! It’s a cus­tom Mane­Mane Stu­dio vin­tage Por­tuguese print corset and ruf­fle skirt. It’s the kind of look you wish every­one could see up close as the detail is so incred­i­ble. I worked close­ly with the design­ers on select­ing this print as it again encom­pass­es that classy renais­sance feel whilst fit­ting Jorja’s body like a mod­ern set she could have pur­chased today! We also paired it with cus­tom Shola Bran­son gold chunky jew­ellery and again Jorja’s favourite Air Max for com­fort – she had a good dance this night!”

Kali Uchis by Matthew Kaplan

Night one we went with a some­thing that felt pow­er­ful – this full-body­suit paired with pieces from Creepy Yeha’s col­lec­tion, to high­light Kali’s fea­ture in a cool way. The rings and chok­er were from a per­son­al favourite, Lynn Ban. The crys­tal har­ness and pock­et belt were super sexy and made for a great opener.”

Kali Uchis by Matthew Kaplan

Night two we went with a look from Bar­ra­gan, who we worked with on the cus­tom top that is sexy with­out being too reveal­ing. The skirt with the fab­ric tied down Kali’s leg added the sweetest ”

Photography: Matthew Kaplan

Night four in NYC we went with two NYC design­ers, Wes­lah, for this cus­tom laced corset and sweater two-piece and Mar­tine Ali for the cus­tom chok­er. Kali want­ed a bit of edge and this nailed it.”

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