Behind the Making of Kim Petras's "Clarity" Era

Behind the Making of Kim Petras's "Clarity" Era

Following Petras's just-dropped Clarity project, V get a BTS look at her sold-out tour.

Following Petras's just-dropped Clarity project, V get a BTS look at her sold-out tour.

Text: SAMUEL ANDERSON

Having spent this past spring showering fans with highly addictive bops, prolific pop princess Kim Petras thundered into Pride Month with unmatched momentum. Between cleaning up at box offices from New York to L.A. on her headlining (and sold out) “Broken” tour, Petras continued to churn out one track sharply engineered track after another (nine since May in all), bringing her stream count to 150 mil and counting. The sonic breadcrumb “Another One,” which dropped last week, came as a meta mic-drop moment—the title, perhaps, a coded assertion of her own dizzying productivity—but also a harbinger of more “another ones” to come. Today the mother lode arrives in the form of Clarity, a 12-track musical “project.”

Comprised of the recent cycle of songs, plus an additional trio—“Icy,” “Meet the Parents,” and “Shinin”—it amounts to Petras’s most album-like release to date—upping the tracklist ante of last October’s electro-macabre  opus, Turn off the Light, Vol. 1. But the messaging around Clarity forcefully eschews categorization: in sum, call it whatever you want, unless what that is is “an album.” The non-album’s defiance of regular semantics invites plenty of alternatives. But by dint of Petras’s pattern of releasing staggered one-off singles, allowing each to gather its own peculiar fandom, the denouement of Clarity might be best described as a microwaved “greatest hits” collection—and a pretty immaculate one at that—reflecting an artist whose hyperactivity resists traditional timelines as well as category. 

As effortless as Petras’s trajectory as a pop icon may appear, it belies a well-oiled empire of like-minded creatives, including stylist and DJ opener Matthew Mazur. For the “Broken” tour, Mazur enlisted a roster of clubby designers like Weslah and GCDS. Emulating the set design’s ethereal, Disney-ruin fantasy, the pieces range from Swarovski-studded Air Force Ones to aquamarine bustiers—all framing Petras as the architect of her LGBTQ+ Mount Olympus, giving fire, ice and “woo-ahs” for the gods. 

See an exclusive tour diary from Petras’s “Broken” tour, and an in-depth fashion breakdown by Matthew Mazur, below. Stream Clarity here

LaQuan Smith (White Look)

Working closely with my friends over at LaQuan Smith, we created a look that gave us a modern feel of Kim’s reinterpretation of one of her favorite role models: Madonna. Our reference was Madonna’s iconic "Boy Toy" white lace photo. We did a white lace romper with a double satin power shoulder tuxedo jacket.

Weslah (Black Look)

Wesley Berryman, better known as Weslah, is an up-and-coming, super-talented designer based in Brooklyn, New York. I chose to commission him to create a look that encompassed Kim’s Turn Off the Light Vol 1 [era]. I referenced Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, which is one of Kim’s favorites. You can also see a tiny purse attached to one of the Nikes, which he customized for us—a Weslah signature, which has in turn become a Kim signature.

GCDS (Blue Crushed Velvet Look)

My friend Giuliano Calza of GCDS has an eye for spotting talent and supported Kim from the get-go. I asked him to create a look for her closing part of the show—the "Blue" part. For this piece, custom-made in Italy, he  incorporated hints from his most recent runway show in Milan, but completely changed the fabrics, using blue crushed velvet that mimic the signature "Broken" blue. The most special part of this outfit might be the custom GCDS column bag that matches her set design—classical and refined but also chic and street.

Area (Blue Space Suit)

Our friends at Area have also been supportive of Kim since the beginning and are based in NYC. The turquoise space suit fit perfectly, as it hit specific blue hues that others did not. "Broken" has so many levels to it so we couldn’t just end with one outfit; we had to have two options, to give two completely different feelings.

Jewelry Kim wears custom-made jewelry by Chris Habana, out of NYC. Kim is always inspired by heavy jewelry and chains that you might find on the street: cuban links, masculinity meets femininity. Chris Habana is a designer that has balanced the two so well. We chose to go silver, as we wanted cool undertones and blue gems to complement the "Broken" blue.

Shoes

Air Force Funs, based in NYC, are a group of young girls that customize Nikes for celebs and just make dope things in general. I approached them to do Kim’s sneakers, for her white LaQuan Smith look, which are placed 1,000 Swarovski crystals by hand. The end result was priceless.

Kim wears Area on the "Broken" tour (photo: Megan Walschlager)

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