Weekend one of Coachella was huge for Childish Gambino, who finally unveiled his new 55-minute film, Guava Island, starring Rihanna, and later headlined the festival's opening night.
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Filmed in Cuba and inspired by the Brazilian movie City of God, Gambino's set carried a similarly tropical, breezy energy as his much-anticipated film. He had a full choir, rhythmic drummers, and performed the entire thing shirtless a la "This Is America." Fan favorites like "Late Night in Kauai" were included, as well as a cover of Gnarls Barkley's 2006 hit "Crazy," and Gambino reflected on his experience with death: "I lost my dad this year, we lost Nipsey, we lost Mac," he said.
Designer Christian Joy, who's created iconic Coachella looks for everyone from Karen O to Alabama Shake's Brittany Howard, was behind Gambino's simple pants. His minimal stage look was constructed in only 5 hours using materials from a nearby JOANN Fabric; the original pair she created was too stiff to move in, and Gambino's team last-minute requested an update after Coachella rehearsals.
Whether it's hand-cutting dozens of petals to create a bodysuit or using battery-operated fans from Amazon to inflate a dress, there's clearly no rule book for Coachella fashion. Below, Joy explains how Gambino's look came to fruition.
On Her Point-of-View:
"My job is mainly to give the performer something they feel defines their performance and that they feel comfortable wearing. I always try to present looks that are graphic or colorful — something that feels joyful for both the performer and the audience. I try to keep the energy of the look upbeat, but also very defined. The look should become a part of the artist."
On Connecting With Childish Gambino:
"I connected to Childish Gambino through my friend Ibra Ake. He brought me on to create the looks for the Pharos event in Joshua Tree a few years ago. Ibra already knew my work and I think he just felt that the energy and graphic nature of it would work"
Sketches courtesy of Christian Joy
On Creating the Coachella Pants:
"The look ended up being very paired down. Originally, he and his management had asked for a look using 'anti-paparazzi' fabric, so I created a robe and trousers using material that was very bold and graphic. The pants ended up being a little difficult to move in, so they asked for a pair that were a bit more flexible because he dances a lot. We were in rehearsals in San Bernardino when I got the request so I had to run to a JOANN Fabric, buy a sewing machine and supplies and I ended up making a more simplified version of the pant in my hotel room in 5 hours. Fortunately, I had brought his pant pattern with me, so I was able to create them pretty quickly."
On Outfitting Childish Gambino's Entire Choir:
"The choir's look had to reflect Donald's look as well as the stage itself, so we went for choir robes and then I made sashes using the same retro reflective material I had used on his pant in similar shapes"
Follow Christian Joy on Instagram (@christianjoycostumes).
Lead photo by Sam Balaban (Courtesy of Christian Joy)