The hairstylist and costume designer opened up about her style journey on the ESSENCE Festival Beauty and Style stage.
When a record company gave Tina Knowles-Lawson a $1500 budget to dress Destiny’s Child, she used her creativity to establish a style that can only be described as denim glam.
“I’m a huge fan of Motown,” said Lawson on the Beauty and Style stage at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival in New Orleans. “When you saw them on stage, you saw sparkle…you saw attitude. They didn’t have on t-shirt and jeans.”
Creating something out of nothing, Lawson remembered buying expensive fabric to make costumes, though she admits some of them look “real crazy” now.
She also recalled when a trip to Jamaica went awry, leaving the singing group’s costumes nowhere to be found. Beyonce and Solange’s mom sprung into action, buying camouflage from a local flea market to create the “Survivor” era costumes that took the press by storm.
“The camouflage was probably my favorite thing,” said Lawson, as she described how New Orleans native Master P, a regular camo flaunter of that time, was her inspiration for one of the most well-known Destiny’s Child costumes.
Although Lawson is known for the fab styling of her daughters and the group members of Destiny’s Child, she is also a style icon in her own right.
When asked what inspires her personal style, Lawson acknowledged Diahann Caroll and “the boss” Diana Ross, who will be hitting the Mercedes-Benz Superdome stage tonight (June 30).
“Diana Ross… she’s the bomb,” said Lawson. “I loved Diahann Caroll growing up. I love a sophisticated classy woman.”
[MUSIC] Tina Knowles Lawson is one of the most inspirational women of our generation. And I'm not just saying that because she's my mother. I call her mama T. I started mama T. One of the most humble, gracious people beyond beyond. I don't recall her passing. A homeless person, without reaching into her purse. Her spirit is just pure, it's real, it's raw, and she's a very giving person. You don't get that from a lot of people. When I think of her being an inspiration I mean she has inspired the world without even trying. [MUSIC] Style is something that you either have or you haven't. Tina just got it. She just put some stuff together We would all rhinestone jewels [ LAUGHTER ] You need to wear this, It doesn't ma-, you can wear anything baby. You can put a paper bag on. It's gonna be just great. It's gonna be great. But it all turned out so fly. [MUSIC PLAYS ] After being rejected from every single fashion house she turned her love for fashion into purpose. She designed all of Destiny's Child's original stage costumes herself. She definitely put a stamp in the fashion industry. Miss Tina want to bring the whole feminine glamorous old hollywood back. She wants every woman to look fabulous. She wants every woman to be confident. If she could. She would make over the whole world. That's just the person that she is One of my favorite things to do growing up, was visit my mother's hair salon. It was the hottest spot for African American women. I got to see these women transform, and the impact my mother had on so many, and how life changing these two hours of these women's lives I think really that's her gift. She makes people feel really good and she makes people really empowered. One of the things that I really love and admire is her ability to celebrate our lineage and I think she did that so beautifully with House of Dereon. [MUSIC] By paying homage to her mother, who was a seamstress. Qualities are rooted deep and passed on, so take a little time to look someone in the eye, to let them now that you see [MUSIC] Can't be taught. [MUSIC] Tina Knowles Lawson is more than just a fashion icon, she's also a well respected philanthropist. Her passion at work with the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, Miss A Meal, the Cosmetology Center at Phoenix House And Goodwill have impacted thousands of lives. Her purpose on this planet is to advance black lives to achieve their highest self. Every moment of her day. is in that pursuit. My whole life, seeing my mother give to any and everybody needed. It really is who my mother is. My mother's been through a lot. Survived a lot, And I feel like when people see my mother that they see themselves. They see their mother, She's everyone's mother. She's my leader and she's definitely my inspiration and everything I strive to be.