Seventeen Magazine, May 1996
TLC may be the girl band of the moment, but they're staying true to their fierce style. Always on the edge of the fashion world, they're going baggy with the best from Tommy Hilfiger to Chanel.
You already know that TLC, the Grammy-grabbing hip-hop/R&B group, has made waves in the music biz by doing things their way with a hyper-stylish street image, funk-pop sound and in-your-face attitude. And you also know that CrazySexyCool is the title of their smash hit second album, the record that broke all records to make them the top-selling girl group of all time. But do you know exactly who's crazy, who's sexy, and who's cool?
Twenty-five-year-old Rozonda, aka "Chilli," takes a minute to answer during a break on TLC's Seventeen cover shoot: "It's funny--people get us all wrong. Everybody looks at Lisa [Left-Eye, 25] and thinks, Oh, man, she is really crazy. But I am the crazy one! I'm the one who's always trippin', trying to be the center of it all. And Tionne [T-Boz, 26]? Well, she's the sexy one because she's so prissy and such a girl. Now Lisa? She is cool. When we hang, she's always much more laid-back."
But no matter what their individual styles, as a group TLC is uniformly fierce. "I think one of the reasons we are so successful is because our image is as big as our sound," says Chilli. "People love our music, but they are always wondering, Oh, my God, what are they going to wear next? TLC style is crazy. We are all on the edge, and we're not scared to do things different. If everybody else is wearing blue, we are going to wear orange." That sense of daring has made them couture darlings among star fashion designers like Karl Lagerfeld, who photographed the group in his designs from Chanel. "We did a fashion shoot with him, and he just let us go. We wore Chanel TLC-style, oversized and baggy!" recalls Chilli.
But the girls don't do baggy all the time. "When I'm Chilli, I wear jogging clothes, like sweatpants, but when I'm Rozonda, I wear girl clothes, clothes that fit." Does Left-Eye-who earned her nickname when a boy told her he loved her left eye more than her right (she now wears a black smudge because that's what her football-playing boyfriend, the Cleveland Browns' Andre Rison, wears on the field) - pull a similar Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde when it comes to her style? "I always wear jeans and a T-shirt. But you'll never see me in fitted jeans. I'm casual."
Just then a friend of the band walks in with a ton of junk-food snacks (none of the girls watches her diet except Chilli, who is a vegetarian). Left-Eye runs over, grabs a few chips, then yells for someone to crank up the stereo. A bass-driven hip-hop song starts pounding through the studio. The girls jump up on a platform and strike poses. Left-Eye tweaks her ponytail, then faces the camera. T-Boz spreads her feet and leans forward. Chilli turns to the side, then throws back a wicked grin. And suddenly, within a wink of an eye, the girls become crazy, sexy and cool, all at once.