The mogul mom dishes on curating a holiday collection for Caché, Solange's wedding looks and designing for Destiny’s Child.
ESSENCE.com: Your hoilday selections for Caché are pretty glam. What were your go-to looks for the holidays at the Knowles house and how did that influence the holiday looks you curated for this collection?
TINA KNOWLES: Well, for holidays, you know for parties and that type of thing, we like to wear dresses all the time, which I’m sure you’ve seen. I think Cache is that place where you can find something that’s really aspirational but you don’t have to break the bank to do it. And that’s what I like about them. They will do really nice embellishments and it doesn’t look cheap. And the prices are still affordable though. So you can get great investment pieces. Like, I was very, very happy to see the ball skirt. Those big ball skirts. I think everyone should have one of those in their wardrobe like a black one. It’s just a nice staple. And to say that you can get that beautiful top and that skirt under $400. I mean, just the skirt alone, you can’t even have that skirt made for that price because it’s probably 15 yards of fabric.
ESSENCE.com: What are three words to describe your personal style?
KNOWLES: I think it would be classic, simple, and elegant.
ESSENCE.com: And the collection embodies all of that.
KNOWLES: It does. Beautiful statement jewelry pieces, it’s all very aspirational. It’s really cool.
ESSENCE.com: What pieces have you worn and where to?
KNOWLES: Well, I wore the black dress. It’s a black ponte dress and it has a black leather trim and zippers on it. I think it’s really cool; if you put it on it fits really well. I wore that to lunch, out to lunch here in Beverly Hills. I live here in LA and I went and bought the ball skirt––the black one, because I’d been wanting one. I was going to have one made. But I mean, that’s great. It’s beautiful.
ESSENCE.com: Sounds fabulous. What do you plan on wearing that with?
KNOWLES: Well I’m going to pair it with another top. I designed one that’s beaded and mesh and I think it would be really cool with it.
ESSENCE.com: The ponte dress that you mentioned is among the many curve-flattering styles that are included in the collection. Can you share any tips and tricks that you’ve used to dress yours and Beyoncé’s curves?
KNOWLES: People have a tendency to think that bigger clothes make them look smaller and I think that is quite the contrary and what I’ve always done with Beyoncé when I was styling her and designing for her, and myself because I have the same type of curves, is I accentuate the waist because it makes you look smaller. I’ve been tapering my things since way back in the day. And that makes you look so much slimmer and longer.
And another thing is Spanx. Don’t be afraid of Spanx even if you’re a size 2. They just hold everything in together and they just give you the best possible shape. You know the best form. Another secret that I’ve been doing for years: you take the Spanx and make sure that you attach it to the bra; sew it onto your bra so it doesn’t roll down cause that’s like the worst.
ESSENCE.com: Where did you get your sense of style from?
KNOWLES: From my mom. My mother was a seamstress and a designer way back. You know, she was 44 when she had me, so you can imagine. But she just had the best sense of style and she had no money. Absolutely no money but all the creativity. she definitely influenced me and I tried to pass that on to my kids. Just the idea that, you know, even if you don’t have a lot of money, it’s no excuse not to have a good style.
I think those are great tips that our generation needs right now. Since they are kind of like—the underpinnings are—that area is lacking in the layering of clothes.
ESSENCE.com: How has your your design aesthetic evolved since the 90s when you were dressing Destiny’s Child?
KNOWLES: You know, when the girls first started off, I wasn’t the choice—I wasn’t even doing styling I was doing their hair. And I kind of got that job by default cause they were losing luggage all the time. And things weren’t fitting them well so I’d take them and change them up. So at that point, the aspiration was Motown and them looking very different and kind of being inspired by Sly Stone, and Michael Jackson, and Diana Ross. Just as time went on they grew older and more established and we didn’t need to do that. And of course, we got more exposure to couture and better clothes, and the style had gotten better for sure.
ESSENCE.com: How much input do you have now in your daughters’ wardrobe choices?
KNOWLES: I don’t really have that much input cause you know, I’m retired now and I work on the tours with the dancers and coordinating and pulling in things when they need me. But I feel really good about where they are style wise. I think that I’ve done my job and they’re doing really great things. Now they’re giving me styling tips and helping me out.
ESSENCE.com: Did you lend your design expertise to Solange’s weekend wedding ensembles?
KNOWLES: I did not. You know, Solange is such a fashion plate, and that was all of her doing. And she sent out the sketches. She had five sketches from Humberto Leon and she sent them to me, Beyoncé, Kelly and Angie for our input, and we helped her pick out the final one. But they were all her ideas. And she doesn’t really need a lot of help in that area.
ESSENCE.com: Her style is just incredible.
KNOWLES: Yeah, she has a great sense of style.
ESSENCE.com: And she gets it from her mom I’m sure.
KNOWLES: Well, thank you.
ESSENCE.com: If there is one piece in your selection of picks that one girl should own in her wardrobe, which would it be?
KNOWLES: I think it would be the ball—the black ball skirt.
ESSENCE.com: So what can we expect next from your collaboration with Caché? Any collections personally designed by you?
KNOWLES: Well, we’re talking about it. Definitely talking about it, because I would love to do some dresses––like prom dresses. I did those for girls anyway. Girls are always asking me, even some of the fans will come up and they’re like, “Miss Tina, can you make my prom dress?” So I’ll design prom dresses for them if they’ve got a good story so I think that would be really good. And we also talked about Caché doing a charity where I give prom dresses every year to girls who can’t afford them. And we just gave a couple hundred dress—House of Déreon dresses to girls.
Shop Tina Knowles' top holiday picks in the gallery above.