It’s safe to say that 2023 is Tems‘ year. There are a lot of firsts this year for the songbird— a Grammy win for Best Melodic Rap Performance alongside Future and Drake, an Oscar nomination for her work with director Ryan Coogler and Rihanna on the Wakanda Forever track “Lift Me Up” and, of course, for stirring social media up with her first viral look— a voluminous, sculptural gown by Ukrainian brand Lever Couture.
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With her recent larger-than-life headpiece attached to her gown– taking up space was a much more literal sense at the event, social media have continued to have a field day with varying opinions about Tems’ Oscars debut.
In an interview with Harper’s BAZAAR, Tems explains her sartorial decision to the 95th Academy Awards:
Two years ago, I would’ve said no to this dress. But it’s my first Oscars — I am going to go all out. The dress is my way of celebrating my work, celebrating my country, and celebrating the people who are rooting for me,” This dress says Yes, yes, I am here!
The singer’s go-to stylist, Dunsin Wright, also reflects on the significance of the moment:
At the start of the year, Tems said she’s entering a new era. That played on my mind as I considered the perfect outfit for the Oscars. We wanted something that felt quite delicate but powerful, something that made her feel ethereal.
I had spotted Lever Couture a while ago after their fashion show in Tokyo and instantly knew I wanted to work with them. It was a bold option, but I was confident that if anyone could wear it the way it needed to be worn, it was Tems. She is so graceful and confident, and she makes every piece her own.
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Read excerpts from the interview below.
On attending the Oscars:
When I first started out, this was not on my list of things I needed to do. But honestly, I am honoured. It’s the first time I’m in this space, and it just gives me the motivation to keep going and do more and reach my maximum potential.
On the impact she’s making:
My work is actually reaching places, it’s making some type of impact. And that is insane! I really am just trying to keep my feet on the ground and continue running and doing things that are a hundred per cent authentic to me. Evolving, learning, growing. It’s just the beginning for me.
On inspiring people:
All of this, to me, is an open door. Not just for me, but for everybody who is from where I’m from. If I can do it, they can do it. I’m happy that I got to fight, and I want to let people know that they should fight for every single thing that they believe in. It’s not easy, but once you have a plan, once you know who you are and you know where you’re going, every single thing sorts itself out.
Read the full issue here.