A few years ago, Youth Smhr attained a rare kind of anonymous fame in the fashion industry. The Paris stylist would dress up his brothers, sister, and friends in silky robes or cinched belts and post them on Instagram, with only his arms visible in the frame. No one ever knew the face behind these looks; you could only see doubled-up baggy jeans and a torso strapped with fanny packs. “I really wanted to show my work first and not myself,” the stylist told Vogue in 2016. Now Smhr is back in the limelight, and while he has still not revealed his actual name, he has shown his face and has a megawatt client: Saweetie.
Saweetie and Smhr started working together in July, and in those few months the French stylist has managed to give the artist a Frenchified makeover, putting her in body-cinching Mugler and glamming her up in a Versace robe. Smhr initially began working with Saweetie when he was contacted by her team to direct a documentary about her in Paris and Italy. (Smhr is also a filmmaker.) At the time, she was in need of a Europe-based stylist, and while filming with Smhr, she asked him if he could recommend one. Unknowingly, Saweetie had come to the right person: Smhr had already been styling for five years. “She was like, ‘I need some outfits for the next few days, like some ’70s Parisian styles.’ The next day, I pulled up to her hotel room with a bunch of clothes with the inspiration that she wanted,” says Smhr. “She was impressed and was like, ‘Wow, you can actually style.’ That is how I started working with Saweetie.”
View on Instagram
His glammed-up styles are a far cry from how Smhr had been styling on Instagram a few years ago. He used to build head-turning Franken-looks, strapping bags on his subjects, covering them in belts from ankle to chest, and layering vintage puffer jackets. Back then he was influenced by people around him, but now he takes in everything—quite literally everything—surrounding him as a potential source of inspiration for his more streamlined looks. “A table, a chair, a pillow, trash, a color, an animal,” says Smhr. “Whatever thing is around me, I am able to find inspiration.” In addition to styling, Smhr has been developing his eponymous animal-inspired label. The pieces include quilted pants in electric blues and itty-bitty cropped jackets, along with metallic miniskirts with halter vests with buckle detailing. “I can watch an animal documentary for hours and get so much information in terms of texture, colors, and shapes,” says Smhr.