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When it comes to adding flash to the new music videos from Taylor Swift and Elton John, helping Fergie and Jake Shears to sparkle onstage, or sprinkling extra pizzazz onto get-ups for Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Cardi B and actress Kate Bosworth, one fashion designer shines above the rest: Andrew Clancey.
Since he relocated his Any Older Iron boutique from New York’s Lower East Side to Nashville in 2014, the former metal scrapyard worker has forged some 15 years of styling bands in his native U.K. with a knack for good tailoring and an innovative use of sequins into a growing profile.
“My go-to is making people stun onstage,” Clancey said. “You want something that stands out. Sequins do definitely stand out onstage.”
That was one reason why Bobbi Rich, the wardrobe and set stylist and art director for Elton John’s new video “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again” with Taron Egerton, pulled some of Clancey’s sequined styles for director Kii Arens’ electrifying project that blends animation, graphic art and Rocketman footage.
“Elton, historically, has been one of the most flashy performers out there. He had the best stagewear. We needed something that was going to pop enough for Elton’s caliber,” Rich said.
Plus, Clancey’s emphasis on quality and tailoring differentiated him from other new designers in her eyes. “The fit is really great. The structure is nice. The quality of materials he uses is always the best. They just stand out. You’ve seen sequins before. He just has a really good take on it,” she said.
Particularly in one scene of an actor portraying John at the piano, where Rich said a special camera lens, coupled with the lighting, turns anything shiny into a rainbow. She chose Any Old Iron’s iridescent green jacket and gold pants, both festooned with sequins, likening the effect to “a moving human disco ball.”
Inspired by punk rock and disco, the 50-year-old Clancey has no formal fashion training. A visit to a fabric store in Nashville led to the discovery of two-sided sequins that flipped from peacock green to matte black. His reaction was: “Oh my God, I’ve got to make a jacket out of those!” he recalled. “I sold it within a week. I took the money out of that and made three [more jackets]. I kept investing back into sequins.”
For his first full collection, unveiled in 2015, he focused on men’s wear with only a trio of options for women, two of which featured sequins and the third accented with a rhinestone lapel. Upon the advice of Hollywood stylist B. Åkerlund, who cofounded The Residency Experience, the West Hollywood-based firm that represents Clancey, he shifted his focus to making more sequined styles year-round.
Then Any Old Iron’s credits with entertainers started rolling in. A then-pregnant Beyoncé dazzled in a rhinestone blazer that weighed more than 10 pounds. Kesha has shown off two capes in music videos — one stitched from thousands of rainbow-hued confetti strips in the “I Need a Woman to Love” video, and another that swung like liquid gold in the “Woman” video. And Clancey’s big break with the country music crowd dates to Miranda Lambert’s decision to wear a black jacket with a beaded notch lapel at the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2017, followed by Janelle Monáe donning a black-and-white striped suit jacket on the cover of Fast Company’s December 2018 issue.
When Bosworth was in Nashville for the CMT Music Awards earlier this month, she made two stops at Clancey’s appointment-only studio in the Gulch neighborhood, first to try on everything, then to pick a long-sleeved minidress adorned with rays of pink, blue and gold sequins for an after-party, he said. “We’re talking about doing something in the future for another event,” he said.
There’s also the cape Clancey landed in the latest music video from the singer he calls “the most famous person out of Nashville” — Swift. Prior to Monday’s premiere of “You Need to Calm Down,” to over 200 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, Swift shared a snippet of the shimmering train on a one-of-a-kind cape from Clancey’s current spring-summer collection. She captioned the post with the red flamenco dancer emoji and sassy lyrics from her new song: “Can you just not step on our gowns?”
Directed by Drew Kirsch and Swift, with styling by Joseph Cassell Falconer, the video racked up more than seven million views on YouTube in the first seven hours. The cape by Any Old Iron is draped on the shoulders of Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye.
While Clancey has kept New York-like elements, including a chandelier made of syringes, in his loft-like studio in Nashville, he’s fully embraced his adopted hometown. “In New York, I was working six days a week. I was exhausted,” he said. “The CMT just happened. We dressed 12 people. All their stylists were based locally. Music City is called that for a reason.”
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