Kelsea Ballerini and Her Stylist Are Proving That Country Can Be Edgy

Kelsea Ballerini Lead
Photo: John Shearer

Kelsea Ballerini is a 24-year-old, Grammy-nominated, country-pop singer—and she's one of the many young faces changing what country music looks like. Sure, she’s beautiful and blonde. But instead of cowboy boots and denim cut-offs, Ballerini tends to opt for Versus Versace and Georges Hobeika, thanks in large part to her stylist, Krista Roser.

Country music reaches over 42% of the U.S. population, according to CMA’s The Rise of Country Music study. The detailed study also shows that these listeners are ethnically diverse, range in age from centennials to boomers, are almost evenly split between male and female, and have significant spending power.

A.K.A. these listeners are shopping. So it’s no surprise that a young artist like Ballerini would showcase her style in a unique way, undoubtedly leading to relationships with big fashion houses.

“One of our biggest [fashion] statements thus far was the pink bodysuit by The Blonds that she wore at last year’s ACMs,” Roser, who is based in Nashville, tells InStyle. “It was fun, flirty, and reflected the song so well.”

Kelsea ACM
Ethan Miller

The bodysuit, designed by a brand known for spikes, chains, and tons of glitter, was made of stretch lamé tulle and embellished with thousands of laser-cut, star-shaped iridescent sequins and crystals. It took around six weeks to create. A bit more Britney or Christina than Reba or Trisha.

But this is just the beginning of Ballerini’s sartorial transformation. Tank tops and jeans or simple, lacy dresses were once the country singer's staples. Now, Ballerini and Roser are gearing up for the tour attached to her new album, Unapologetically, and a big chunk of the work is the wardrobe.

This marks the first tour during which the singer/songwriter will be making multiple outfit changes—four, to be exact—showcasing an edgier, sexier Ballerini. “We generally use a lot of color, so playing around with a dark, sleek look would definitely be something I would love to try,” says Roser.

“As she goes through each stage in the show, we want her style to reflect that,” Roser continues. “[For the tour] we start dark with a Nicole Miller black, sequin trench, followed by a custom Shock and Awww tunic emblazoned with all of the album songs.”

“As Kelsea continues to grow as an artist and a woman, her style is ever changing and evolving. She can pull off many different types of looks ranging from comfortable and chill when she is off duty to ultra-glam on red carpet events,” says Roser.

Case in point: When Ballerini wore custom Michael Kors at the 2017 CMA Awards. “She can be just as comfortable in a T-shirt as she is going on stage in a sequin bodysuit.” After seeing the singer in soft colors and feminine shapes on carpet after red carpet, that was a Fashion Moment.

“Ralph and Russo gowns and Versace anything,” Roser says of their future fashion goals. "Both of their designs are perfect for Kelsea’s style. I love that Versace knows how to compliment and embrace a woman’s shape without showing an excessive amount of skin. They don’t shy away from color and prints without going overboard—they are always inventive and never complacent.”

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