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LAS VEGAS — Hurricane Katrina couldn’t prevent the multitasking Beyoncé Knowles from flying here from Miami on Monday to the Project Global Tradeshows to promote The House of Deréon, the new line designed with her mother, Tina Knowles.
It did, however, keep a few buyers, media and The House of Deréon representatives waiting for more than three hours for the superstar to arrive, which she finally did — even though the trade show’s doors had been closed for 20 minutes by then.
No matter. As Japanese boutique buyers and other fans snapped photos of the megastar behind a red velvet rope, Beyoncé stroked the cashmere-blend jeans, admired the flaring tail of a tuxedo-inspired denim blazer and tried on a black sheared mink jacket that was trimmed with rabbit hair treated to resemble chinchilla fur.
“It’s really important for us not to take advantage of celebrity and throw my name on anything,” Beyoncé said. “We want to add a touch of couture with a reasonable price.”
The line bows for holiday 2005 with a small selection of outerwear, fur, knit tops and denim. Tina Knowles also has been working diligently on the spring collection with the line’s co-creative director, Heather Thomson Schindler.
While waiting for her daughter’s plane to land, Tina Knowles pulled from a back room a sweet dress that, with its chiffon pleated skirt and four different shades of purple on cream, could be worn to tea with Southern belles. She whispered the medallion-print fabric was developed by the company based on a blouse that she found in “a little junkie vintage shop” in Los Angeles.
Buyers from Macy’s West and Dillard’s, along with the style director from online auctioneer eBay, checked out the clothes before the singer arrived with her boyfriend, Jay-Z. The rapper, who was in town to present his own line for Rocawear, supported his significant other by sitting quietly in a corner — with dark sunglasses on.
He finally removed them for his own Rocawear party, poolside at the Bellagio Hotel, much later Monday evening.
The power couple arrived around 10 p.m. to the scene, where a few hundred streetwear buyers gathered for cocktails and an outdoor buffet dinner. The guests of honor, meanwhile, enjoyed burritos and steak from the comfort of an air-conditioned VIP cabana overlooking the crowd. Temperatures hovered in the mid-90s even then.
Rocawear’s spring collection drew praise from buyers from Macy’s East to plus-size chain Ashley Stewart. Guests also got an eyeful of the new women’s swimwear, as models mingled in boyshort bikinis, cut-out one-pieces and string bikinis.
Among those posing for photos was Russell Simmons, who, in between photo ops and chatting with buyers, also was busy approving samples of Phat Farm’s new watch line.
Jay-Z’s line may be competitive with Phat Farm’s, but the two moguls last week became business partners when Jay-Z took the post of president of Simmons’ Def Jam Recordings.