Article Dec 03, 2016

You are no longer passing

Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood helped bring high fashion to CMAs

Faith Hill and Carrie Underwood changed the face of country music fashion.

Before Taylor Swift became big, country music stars were mostly known for either over the top ball gowns or laidback jeans and T-shirt combos at the annual Country Music Association Awards.

However Faith and Carrie started to mix things up, with their fellow musicians soon catching on to the change in trends.

“Taylor had not yet hit the scene and the only one who was doing high fashion was Faith Hill,” stylist Trish Townsend explained to WWD. “Carrie was the first country artist to come off of American Idol and she wasn’t ashamed of it.”

The first outfit Carrie wore was by David Rodriguez, and over the years she’s donned pieces from everyone from Badgley Mischka to Gauri & Nainika. For the 50th anniversary awards, which takes place on Wednesday (02Nov16), host Carrie will go through 11 outfit changes.

Trish, who also works with Blake Shelton, LeAnn Rimes and Tim McGraw, explains that before Carrie, a lot of artists just wore their performance clothes to the event.

“Or went to the local mall. Fashion never had a big presence,” she said, adding that these days the entertainers are taking more risks.

“The designers have really come on board and realized it’s a good marriage between these country artists and their fans. Before, they were skeptical, but designers such as Oscar de la Renta and Valentino are moving toward an acceptance of Nashville and its fashion.”

Stylist Gina Ketchum is dressing Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard for the big night, with the musicians wearing Alexander McQueen and Givenchy respectively.

“Brian and Tyler are excited to dress up, but that’s not true for everybody,” she said. "Country has come a long way and we want to show the rest of the world how we’ve evolved."