Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 09/04/2008

Beyoncé’s look continues to evolve.

For several years, the bathroom wall at Phoenix, the East Village gay bar, has been sprayed with a graffiti that bluntly states that “Beyoncé shops at Strawberry.”

This story first appeared in the September 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Hardly — at least not judging by her red-carpet appearances. Throughout her career, Beyoncé Knowles has been a bona fide fashion plate. She is a favorite guest in the front rows of Milan, Paris and New York, and her taste buds have evolved to include some of the most luxurious names in fashion.

She recently starred in the campaign for Emporio Armani’s Diamonds fragrance, and belted out tunes at an Armani show in London in 2006. She also walked down the runway for the Naomi Campbell-organized Fashion for Relief show in 2006 and once was the spokeswoman for Tommy Hilfiger’s True Star fragrance.

More recently, Beyoncé produced and starred in “Cadillac Records,” playing the role of Etta James alongside male lead Adrian Brody. It is scheduled to be released in November — that same month, she also plans to release her new album.

While she was frequently seen wearing clothes made by her mother, Tina Knowles, in the  early days, her style has progressed, and she’s added plenty of designer weight to her wardrobe. Beyoncé favors va-va-voom gowns from the likes of Elie Saab, Giorgio Armani and Badgley Mischka. And often, her fashion choices show off her assets, such as at the most recent Costume Institute Ball, when Beyoncé donned a  pink strapless Giorgio Armani Privé gown.

When she isn’t wearing designer names, Beyoncé and her mother are creating cool looks for their contemporary dress collection House of Déreon and their junior line Deréon. The label, which was conceived in 2004, is named after her grandmother, Agnes Deréon, who was its initial inspiration. “We’re mixing vintage with the new,” Beyoncé says. “My mother has the best style. I grew up watching her design, and all around she’s just a stylish woman. Her style is a bit more sophisticated than mine.”

She shouldn’t be so modest. There’s plenty of high fashion in Beyoncé’s wardrobe. Perhaps the best way to figure out her fashion soul is to dig into some of the song lyrics she has sung over the years, both solo and  with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams for Destiny’s Child.

“I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings,” the trio chanted on “Independent Women Part I.” “The shoes on  my feet, I’ve bought it. The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it. The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it. ’Cause I depend on me.”

And nobody probably knows the inside of Beyoncé’s closet quite like Jay-Z, who sings about it in their duet “’03 Bonnie & Clyde.”

“I keep you working that Hermès Birkin bag, Manolo Blahnik, Timbs, aviator lens,” he rapped. “The only time you wear Burberry [is] to swim.”

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