Memories of designing for Prince

Stacia Lang, Prince’s costume designer from 1990-1993, designed some of the most legendary stage outfits, including the notorious yellow buttless pants he wore at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.

“There is no way to describe this ethereal, otherworldly genius. To me, every meeting was like being in another dimension. Not that it was easy. Not that it was always pleasant. But it was genius. I was fully aware of this at every moment. What Prince brought to the creative table of collaboration is something I have never seen the likes of, before or since. A singular expression of being. A one-of-a-kind voice in this world of cookie-cutter mediocrity.

My method was this: I would present him with a portfolio of sketches, which he would study in solitude, making notes on Post-its regarding changes or expressing his thoughts. Once I got the portfolio back, I would share it with the workroom staff and start making the garments. It was so exciting. Sometimes he would give me a theme before I started my sketches–Nehru jackets, “Barbarella meets the Godfather,” or most perplexing, a suit with the “butt out.” Yes, that was one that will go down in infamy. But no matter how outrageous or how seemingly simple (even silk pajamas), they were all completely and fully Prince, and no one else in the world could wear them”.

“He had a period where he loved to wear pajama fabric like a suit,” Lang says. “He had very little distinction between daywear, evening wear, and clothes for concerts”.

“Once you are within his inner circle, you can never, ever leave, psychologically. The experience transforms you. Lifts you up, tears you down, and rebuilds you”.

Oprah interviewing The Artist formerly known as Prince, and wife Mayte
- 1996, Paisley Park

Oprah to Mayte, regarding the name change: “So, what do you call him?”

Mayte: (starts to speak) “Umm…”

Prince: (slowly covers Mayte’s mouth with his hand)