Destiny's Other Child
Solange (second from left) color coordinated with Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams — the younger Knowles toured with the girl group as a backup dancer — for the 7th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards in 2001. Did she and her sister ever swap clothes when they were growing up? ”Not really, because we’re four years apart… we [couldn’t] wear the same size,” Solange explains. ”But we do now. I raid her closet [more than] she does mine, but I can’t even raid my own closet, it’s so messy.”
Though she never worked with Beyoncé and mom Tina on the family fashion label, Solange attended the Toronto launch of the Dereon junior apparel collection in 2007. ”I don’t think I’d ever want to have my own line,” she says. ”I’ve seen other celebrity clothing lines, and they’re OK…but it’s not something I’d ever want to do.”
Ciao, Front Row!
During her first trip to Milan Fashion Week in 2008, Solange suited up in an Emporio Armani checked jacket (and added a little edge with neon pink knuckle dusters) for Giorgio Armani’s womenswear show. Just weeks before, the fashion label had announced that the singer had been hired to serve as brand ambassador for its denim line.
Never one to shy away from an extreme hair makeover — she has said that her Afro styles are inspired by her fashion icon, Diana Ross — Solange had lots to say about the Twitter buzz generated by paparazzi photos of her newly-shorn head in 2009. ”stupid. paps. took. pic. ive. had. my. hair. cut. like. this. for. two. weeks. i. was. NOT. inspired. by anyone. but. my. self.” she tweeted. ”i. just. wanted. to. be. free. from. the. bondage. that. black. women sometimes. put. on. themselves. with. hair.” A few weeks later, Solange’s closely-cropped ‘do made its official debut when she and Beyoncé made an appearance to promote handbag designer Samantha Thavassa’s Disney collection in Japan.
In September 2009, the singer and son Daniel ”Julez” Smith Jr. — who she has called her muse — made the rounds at New York Fashion Week. Two years later, the mother-son duo designed the ”Julez for Japan” T-shirt for tsunami relief.
Wearing a geometric print Dries Van Noten gown, Solange attended her first Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute gala — also known as the Oscars of Fashion — in 2011. ”I actually work with a stylist for special events or red carpet-y type things,” she admits. ”Other than that, I still dress myself.”
Though they were both outfitted in clothes from J. Crew, Solange (in a top from designer Prabal Gurung’s capsule collection for the brand) and Beyoncé (in a sequined wrap dress that accentuated her growing baby bump) showed off very different signature styles at the label’s New York Fashion Week show in 2011. A year later, Solange was named the face of J. Crew spinoff line Madewell. ”It was a fun thing to do, but it’s just a between-albums thing,” she says of her side gigs as a celebrity spokeswoman. ”I mean, yeah, I did the brand ambassador thing for a bit, but I don’t want to work in fashion on a regular basis.”
As the newest brand ambassador for Rimmel London, Solange (in an asymmetrical Acne dress and Casadei stilettos) rubbed elbows with fellow spokeswomen Alejandra Ramos and Kate Moss at a 2011 party hosted by the makeup company. Earlier in the year, she scored an endorsement deal with beauty brand Carol’s Daughter.
Just days after signing a contract with Next Model Management in early 2012, Solange jetted to Italy to walk the runway in an Alberta Ferretti fashion show at Milan Fashion Week. ”Honestly, one reason I’m glad about getting back into music is because I’m a little tired of the ‘fashion world,”’ she admits. ”It just isn’t something I’d really focus on [now].”
At the grand reopening of Salvatore Ferragamo’s New York flagship store in 2012, Solange’s eclectic outfit (a bright satin jacket and pants from Ferragamo and print top by Maki Oh) demonstrated her talent for color blocking.
Though she’s had her fair share of designer with a capital ‘D’ moments, Solange is also a fan of fashion industry up-and-comers. Last spring, she showed up to DJ the Museum of Modern Art’s annual ”Party in the Garden” looking fresh in a flora-inspired ensemble by Italian designer Flamina Saccucci.
New Boho It Girl
Wearing an attention-getting printed suit from Just Cavalli, Solange mingled with the cast of Girls at the show’s season 2 premiere party last month. Like the characters in the HBO series, she now calls Brooklyn home, but is still adjusting to a more compact life. ”My little closet is so messy and just crammed with stuff,” she laments over the lack of closet space. ”Normally I just reach in and hope whatever outfit I pull out makes sense.”