When Nicki Minaj announced her pregnancy on Instagram, it was no surprise that she delivered the news in high style. While she captioned the photo with "#preggers," her belly and custom bra did most of the talking. Minaj's stylist, Aquiles Carmona, reached out to designer Lacey Dalimonte earlier this month requesting a tight turnaround for the detailed brassiere, who was able to turn it out in under 48 hours.
While Dalimonte is based in Los Angeles, she was in her hometown in Michigan when she got word that she had been tapped to create the bra. Fortunately, she works best under pressure and was able to gather baby trinkets, candy, and Swarovski crystals to bring Minaj's vision to life. It all worked out in everyone's favor; Minaj's Instagram post currently has over 10 million likes.
NYLON spoke to Dalimonte over email to discuss her process and what it's like being tasked to make the most talked about bra of 2020.
How did you learn that Nicki wanted you to make this bra?
I was contacted by Nicki’s stylist Aquiles Carmona to create a look for her pregnancy reveal. I was out of town back home in Michigan and wasn’t returning to LA until later this month, so he said create whatever you’d like that you think you’d have time to do.
What did Nicki want for the bra?
Knowing the look was for her big moment, I knew I wanted to create something that made a statement. Given the direction of the shoot I decided to make her a bra with a mixed media treatment using baby trinkets, real candy covered in Swarovski crystals, Barbie heels, and other unusual pieces throughout, like a page from an I Spy book. I have always enjoyed working with unconventional materials and though this was the perfect opportunity to show my avant-garde aesthetic.
How were you able to make it in such a short period of time?
I was able to make the bra in such a short amount of time because I work best under pressure. I truly enjoy having to create on a tight deadline because I think it brings out some of my best ideas that just come to life as I'm working instead of spending time overthinking (which I usually do otherwise).
What's your design background and when did you start focusing on bras?
I just graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in 2019 with a Bachelors in Fine Arts studying Fashion Design. Through my experience at Otis I had the opportunity to be mentored under B. Akerlund and after graduating I began working for Zana Bayne. I wouldn’t say my focus is necessarily just on bras because I love creating everything from tailored blazers to exaggerated silhouettes. I don’t like to put myself in a box where I stick to just one thing. I prefer to be able to use my technical skills as a designer to be innovative.
Walk us through the process of actually creating the bra.
I started creating the bra by draping leather on myself instead of using my mannequin. My bust is a similar size to Nicki’s so I thought it made more sense to work off a real body. After making the base to the bra I gathered all of the pieces I wanted to use for the collage and just began playing around. I had a strong visual in my head of how I saw it coming together so I knew it was going to take some time to get it just right. I drilled holes into baby bottles and candy to wire them down to the bra then cut candy in half with a hot knife and used sanding paper to make some of them flatter. I work very meticulously and wanted to ensure that nothing I put on the bra was going anywhere. After getting some of the bigger pieces on the bra I continued to add Swarovski crystals everywhere and filled every inch of the bra until I couldn’t see what the original material was. I even included some pieces of jewelry from my childhood as a special touch. I finally finished the bra at 5 A.M. Wednesday morning because I didn’t want to rush my process and really enjoyed taking my time placing each piece exactly where it needed to go.
What was it like finally seeing your product on Nicki?
Seeing Nicki in my bra exactly a week from when I began making it was so surreal. I have worked on a lot of projects this year that have gotten pushed back because of everything going on in the world right now, so to see my work everywhere so fast was an incredible feeling. This moment is so special for her and I feel so lucky that she wanted to announce her news to the world in Lacey Dalimonte.
What's next for you and your brand?
My brand is still very new but I hope to one day present collections and have an atelier of my own. For now, I love working on custom projects and being able to create one of a kind pieces that push me as a designer.