The Beyoncé Blueprint: Star Plans to Launch Junior, Designer Lines

After turning up at the collections in New York and Milan, Beyoncé says she is ready to turn out some designs of her own.

Beyoncé at the Dolce & Gabbana show Friday

Beyoncé at the Dolce & Gabbana show Friday.

Photo By Dave Yoder

MILAN — Beyoncé finished her schooling at the Italian shows last week and she’s ready to graduate into the fashion business.

After weeks of hints and paparazzi hype at the New York and Milan shows, the 22-year-old songstress, whose first solo album, “Dangerously In Love,” has topped the Billboard charts for 15 weeks, told WWD that she and her mother are definitively set to launch two apparel collections by next year, possibly for summer 2004. The collections would include a junior-oriented line with a hip-hop feel, as well as a more sophisticated range of dresses and separates.

“People my age love fashion and want to dress in designer clothes, but can’t afford it,” Beyoncé said backstage at the Versace show on Saturday night, wearing a Versace apple green chiffon gown and matching snakeskin chain bag. “I want to do something that is affordable, but sophisticated and sexy and feminine — something I would wear.”

Her mother and stylist, Tina Knowles, said they were in final negotiations with two New York-based manufacturers, but declined to give names or elaborate on collection details. “We’re hoping to have the line ready for summer 2004,” Knowles said, following the Dolce & Gabbana show on Friday. “It’s a bit ambitious, but we’re going to try.”

It could not be learned who the final contenders are for the line, but fashion is said to be only one of numerous product categories the singer might be prepared to license. Negotiations are being handled by music mogul Tommy Mottola’s fledgling licensing entity, Moto, whose representatives have been chatting up Seventh Avenue manufacturers for several weeks.

Beyoncé said she had three possibilities for a name of her upcoming line and acknowledged that she was filing away ideas during her front-row appearances at Emporio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianfranco Ferré, Roberto Cavalli and Versace. “It’s been incredible to be here,” she said on the shows’ sidelines over the weekend. “I’m just so excited to have this opportunity — I’ve been taking notes.”

And so has her mother, who for years has served as stylist for both her daughter and her daughter’s group, Destiny’s Child. At various shows the two signaled one another when something really caught their interest. At the Dolce & Gabbana show, Knowles could be seen mouthing to her daughter, as Naomi Campbell sauntered by in a diamante flapper number, “That would be great for your next video.”
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