While we often have a hard time deciding what to wear on an ordinary day, country starlets Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye have the daunting task of choosing outfits for an array of glamorous arenas. From performing onstage at Stagecoach (above) to gracing the red carpet, the singing duo have their work cut out for them in the fashion department. While they do have help, we were surprised to learn just how hands-on the girls were in creating their frocks for the ACM Awards—not to mention how symbolic their attire was. We got the inside scoop from their stylist Krista Roser as well as designer Carol Hannah (who was also behind their boho ensembles in music video "Fly") on how Maddie and Tae’s personalities and music played a major role in helping them get dressed for the big event.
What were Maddie and Tae's visions for their award show gowns, and how did you come together to collaborate on the final look?
KR: "Maddie and Tae call their style 'country boho-chic,' so I am always wanting to keep that look in mind but also keep it red carpet appropriate. We wanted to take the personalities from both of their songs—Carol was really great about showcasing the softness of 'Fly' with the chiffon and draping, and the confident flair of 'Girl in a Country Song' with the leather and hemlines."
CH: "We wanted the girls to look young and fresh but with a little twist: a stronger take on boho. Once Krista gave me the direction, I put together different sketches of options. Maddie and Tae narrowed down and tweaked the styles, and we all worked through the final textile choices together at their first muslin fitting in Nashville. Pairing leather with silk chiffon let us edge up the gowns in a really fun way."
What inspired you to use saturated jewel tones, and how did you decide who would wear which?
CH: "Color is such a great opportunity to make an instant impact, and Maddie and Tae's fun personalities really just called for something bold for the red carpet."
KR: "For this red carpet, I wanted the girls to stand out and try a color scheme they haven't done yet. Also, the awards were in April in Dallas, so playing with colors is perfect for this event."
Why did Tae opt for a shorter style dress?
CH: "Since Maddie and Tae are a pair, we felt like it was important to show balance in the overall combination of both gowns. Having Maddie in a long gown and Tae in a hi-low kept the girls from looking too similar or matchy-matchy."
Which part of their ensembles did Maddie and Tae have the most input in?
CH: "All of it, really. The best part about developing custom gowns from scratch is that the girls are able to be super hands-on in the process. The result is a combination of Krista's direction, my aesthetic and Maddie and Tae's own personalities."
How did each of the dresses communicate their unique personalities?
KR: "Maddie tends to be drawn to longer gowns for the red carpet and Tae to shorter—So it wasn't a surprise when they picked out their favorite sketches. Maddie really loved the sleekness and strong presence her gown had, and Tae is a perfect mix of romantic and playful."
Can you share some tips with our readers about how to select the right dress for formal occasions?
CH: "It's all about finding the right fit and proportion to your body and then working within those boundaries to settle on a vision and direction for your look. Comfort is also key—there's nothing fancy about fidgeting all night!"
KR: "I totally agree with Carol. Also, don't be afraid to play with color, but find out what colors work best on you. Many people play it safe with neutrals, which is fine, but add a pop with a bold accessory. Formal occasions are special occasions, so don't be afraid to get out of your safe zone. [Finally], knowing the importance of undergarments. No matter how in shape you are, most of the time a great undergarment will just allow your dress to lay perfectly."