Beyonce’s Style Icon Status is Being Questioned: Is This Blasphemy?

Someone call the Beygency.

This afternoon, New York Times writer Vanessa Friedman questioned whether Beyoncé actually deserves the fashion icon status she’s had draped on her shoulders for years, on The Gray Lady’s fashion blog, Unbuttoned.

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In the post, Friedman doesn’t object to Beyoncé’s queen-of-the-universe status, citing her laundry list of accomplishments (awards as the most beautiful and the most powerful, per People and Forbes independently). We reported last week that Knowles would be the subject of the opening exhibition at the the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

But when it comes to fashion, Friedman says that Knowles hasn’t moved the needle in terms of sales at retail as other purported fashion icons in Knowles’ company have done and continue to do.

“Beyoncé hasn’t moved, or influenced, the direction of fashion write large in the way that, say, Rihanna, the winner of this year’s CFDA Fashion Icon award, has. She doesn’t wear things and spark a million trends, like Madonna once did with her jeweled crosses and lace minis, not to mention her bullet bra corsets. She doesn’t cause items to sell out overnight, like wee Prince George.”

Also good points: Her stylist hasn’t become a sensation in his own right the way Lady Gaga’s Nicola Formichetti moved on to a plum role at Diesel, and she’s never been cited as a designer’s muse or inspiration.

But before you go ahead and call the Beygency, listen to Friedman defending the popstar.

“By opting to build her celebrity on a carefully chosen set of proprietary symbols—in this case, smile and hair and body—as opposed to a carefully constructed, apparel-related look, Beyoncé & Company have ensured that the only brand that really has any staying power is brand Beyoncé; that everything she is selling comes back to her,” she wrote. “Lose the ‘fashion’ and what do you have left? Icon. No qualifier necessary.”

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