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Solange Knowles looks to fashion to help separate her from the pack.
For her first appearance at Fashion Rocks, Solange Knowles has a couple of things on her mind: The music she will make, the clothes she will wear and how to make both stand out on a stage crowded with profoundly style-savvy top performers, including her older sister, Beyoncé.
This story first appeared in the September 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“I’m a Fashion Rocks virgin, and this will be one of my first times performing on such a large platform. So yeah, there’s just a little pressure,” Knowles laughs.
As far as her music career goes, the timing couldn’t be better. The event comes on the heels of the late-August release of her second album, “Sol-Angel & the Hadley Street Dreams” (Music World Entertainment/Geffen Records), from which her number-one single, “I Decided,” was plucked. She is about to embark on a world tour this fall, and recently was appointed the ambassador for Armani Jeans, a younger, hip line from Giorgio Armani.
As a result, Knowles, 22, is going with something from the Armani repertoire for the night — both in terms of the red-carpet arrivals as well as what she’ll wear to perform.
A few weeks before the event, Knowles dropped by the Armani boutique in Beverly Hills to rifle through its latest arrivals. Among her picks: a pair of black-and-red superhigh croc pumps, a geometrically patterned flap-collared jacket and a short black dress with a structured top and cutouts on the skirt. Armani officials said Knowles had selected the clothes for both her personal use and to consider for the event, and that more choices were being delivered.
Knowles says she’s planning to go for “something very dramatic. Usually, my approach is to look at fashion as an art. Whether it’s in the cut or the line or the fabric, there should be some form of art in what I wear. I like to keep it edgy.”
Knowles says that, while she has long been interested in fashion, she became even more of a fashionista after the birth of her son four years ago. “I felt so constricted when I was pregnant. So after I had my son, I decided I wanted to try and take advantage of dressing up again.”
In addition to Armani, she likes to play what she calls “the high and low game.”
“I mix a lot of H&M and Topshop with Armani. I love the boutique lines — my demographic is much more stores like Intermix on Robertson Boulevard [in Los Angeles] and Barneys Co-op. When I shop, I don’t even look at labels, I look at the actual product and the price tag.”
But the one area where she’s less than budget-minded is shoes. “They’re definitely a fetish, and I don’t spare any expense on those,” she says.
One pair for which she’s keeping an eye out: Chanel’s new open-toed pump that uses a pistol as a heel, although Knowles concedes that “I don’t know what’s up with celebrating violence like that.”
Still, for now, she’s trying to stay focused on Sept. 5, adding that having her family around will help take the edge off.
“It’s great to have their support,” she says. “It helps keep me calm.”