Hip-Hop and Fashion Collide at BET’s Rip the Runway

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Urban fashionitas were in for a treat Wednesday (February 29) night as BET held its annual Rip The Runway fashion show at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

Some of today’s hottest artists, dopest designers and the most fierce models in the game brought their talents to the Big Apple, the latter strutting their stuff for a packed-house of fashion fanatics including the likes of fashion icon and Real Housewives of Atlanta co-star, Cynthia Bailey, who was front and center. The audience got a sneak peak at some of this spring’s hottest trends complimented by performances from Wale, Meek Mill, Diggy and more.

Bold colors and tailored silhouettes were popular throughout the night with cheerful color-blocking of lime greens, fluorescent yellows and tangerine orange being a favorite fad. Extravagant detailing was also a transparent trend with models rocking full sequin dresses, looks with mesh details and tassles galore. Over all, Hip-Hop and fashion never looked so good.

Perhaps the best fashion segment of the night was one styled by fashion designer Laquan Smith which celebrated “style, grace, and fashion.” With looks inspired by style icons Grace Jones and Nicki Minaj, models ripped the runway to music from Araab Muzik.  Familiar faces, including the first albino model Shaun Ross, sported futuristic looks like leather bodysuits and military-esque onesies, as well as outrageous hair trend including bald heads a la Amber Rose to waist-length ponytails reminiscent of 2012 XXL Freshman Iggy Azalea.

Another highlight was the showcase of host Selita Ebanks’ new swimwear line “Sass by Selita.” Coupled with a performance from Meek Mill, models showed off an eclectic blend of fabrics and styles complimented with chain accessories from San Francisco jewelry line Litter.

And, the surprise performance from Lil’ Kim was also a crowd-pleaser. The Brooklyn legend stole the show as onlookers fixated on her instead of the amazonians strutting around her. The queen serenaded the animated audience with her new single “If you Love Me” and encited pandemonium while performing verses from throwback hits “All About the Benjamins” and “Crush on You”.

MMG artist Wale opened the show, performing his latest single “Slight Work,” a perfect match for the high energy and vibrant threads of the first designer to rip the runway. The former XXL Freshman’s segment set the tone for the entire show, with awesome performance skills highlighting the bold patterns, colors and textures of the fashion-forward looks.

Following Wale’s performance, hosts Pooch Hall (The Game) and Ebanks welcomed the audience to the show. By far one of the best dressed of the night, Selita looked regal in a full length tiered gown in royal blue schooling Pooch to the art of style. In spite of her beautiful look, the model showed that the real power is in the accessories, showcasing her vibrant nail art and having self-prescribed “shoegasm” on stage when describing the jewels that would eventually adorn the model’s feet throughout the night including designs from Giuseppe Zanotti, Christian Louboutin and Brian Atwood.

Additionally, menswear made its presence felt. Walking to Estelle’s new single “Back to Love,” male models showed off an array of military-meets-varsity inspired trends, sporting lots of khaki and cargos complimented with varsity jackets and rugby style jerseys. Diggy Simmons, “Gen Y” segment showcased a more youthful blend of bold color and funky patterns as models showcased a casual yet luxurious version of the night’s recurring themes.

The show also featured performances from B.O.B. and Robin Thicke as models of all sizes showed off other fashion trends. Looks were focused on heavy movement with models maneuvering outfits with flexible fabrics and feather and ruffle details. The “Size Sexy” segment was a fan-favorite proving that you could be full-figured and fly.

BET’s Rip the Runway airs March 21st at 10pm on the network. —Shamecca Harris