Pop star’s mom sews some Diva-licious threads
When you are the mother of the world’s premier diva, you can relax and enjoy life’s spoils … unless you are Tina Knowles.
The couture fashion maven, who happens to be the mother of Beyoncé, will turn heads on the runway when she releases her 2007 House of Deréon fall fashion line.
It’s not by accident that Knowles’ creations are must-haves across the country.
Raised in a large, poor family in Galveston, Tina often wondered how her mother, Agnes Deréon, could afford to send her and her siblings to a pricey Catholic school. As it turns out, her mother paid for part of their tuition by making robes for the altar boys, cloaks for the priests and altar cloths for the church.
“My mother was so talented and so resourceful. People would come to her to make their prom dresses and beautiful formal gowns,” says Tina. “I grew up in a very style-conscious environment. She used paper to cut her patterns and her creations were often embellished with hand-smocking, beading, lace, embroidery and jeweled buttons.”
Tina watched as her mother meticulously took simple pieces of fabric and created her own custom masterpieces.
In junior high, Tina sang with a local group called the Beltones. Needing costumes, she put her lessons to good use and took it upon herself to design the clothing for the group’s performances.
Fast forward a couple of decades and Tina’s designs have exploded on the scene.
Maybe it was destiny (as in Destiny’s Child), that Beyoncé and Tina would collaborate to launch the House of Deréon, a high-end couture line, in the fall of 2005.
Tina describes the clothing line, inspired by three generations of women, with the mantra: Couture, Kick and Soul. Tina is the “Couture,” Beyoncé is the “Kick,” and Tina’s mom and Beyoncé’s grandmother, Agnes Deréon, is the “Soul.”
“My goal has always been to bring a touch of couture to affordable clothes. Everyone should have access to great fit, great fabric, to the feel of a perfect garment,” Tina says.
The young contemporary women’s line features ready-to-wear, casual sportswear and denim offerings, as well as furs, handbags and footwear. The House of Deréon is featured in all Federated stores, such as Macy’s, Dillard’s, Bloomingdale’s and other fine department and specialty stores nationally.
Tina’s couture creations hit the mainstream as her family’s high-powered act Destiny’s Child took over the pop charts by storm.
When Beyoncé was 7-years-old, she and her girlfriends were dancing in the backyard. But at age 11, Beyoncé’s dance teacher saw something special in the young future diva. She began entering in music competitions and won every contest she entered against girls who were much older. All the while, Tina was creating the costumes and hairstyles as she was a hairstylist with a successful salon.
It wasn’t long before Beyoncé was making waves performing at Tina’s salon. The family was approached by someone wanting to build a vocal group around Beyoncé. After auditioning more than 50 girls, Mathew, Tina’s husband and Beyoncé’s father, quit his six-figure job and took over as manager for the family’s music endeavors.
“My husband is very, very smart. He’s a risk taker; I’m not. When he believes in something or someone, the building can fall, but he will never give up,” she says.
As the group continued to gain notoriety in music circles, they settled on the name Destiny’s Child.
Tina was responsible for suggesting the name “Destiny” after she found a photo of the girls stuffed in the Bible. They chose the name “Destiny’s Child” because there were several other groups with the name “Destiny.” Fortified with inspiration and talent from her mother, Tina created the cutting-edge, hip-haute fashions worn by the R&B group during public appearances and music videos.
While the members of Destiny’s Child have since gone their separate ways in their careers, Tina and Beyoncé and the rest of the Knowles family continue to support each other.
Daughter Solange, herself a successful singer, has joined her sister, Beyoncé, and Tina in the House of Deréon. Each brings fresh, playful attitudes and individual personalities to the designs. Beyoncé, Solange and Kelly Rowland are the dynamic Deréon models.
This year, the House of Deréon launches two new lines, including one for infants.
“We’re also launching a ‘real woman’ line for sizes up to 24, with all the styling tips to accentuate the positive,” she says. “Every woman is beautiful and deserves a perfect fit. If she wants to wear a pencil skirt, she should be able to find one that fits.”
Tina also presents her exclusive “Miss Tina” line on the Home Shopping Network. The collection, which debuted Aug. 19, emphasizes figure-flattering silhouettes and exquisite attention to detail to enhance every woman’s personal style. The collection is designed for confident women who like to make a statement with the clothes they wear. It includes denim, sweaters, blouses, jackets, trousers, skirts, T-shirts, footwear, handbags and other accessories.
“I went to New York to look at all the samples for the Young Deréon line before any of them left for the stores,” Tina recalls, “While there, I met with Mindy Grossman of Home Shopping Network concerning the new line we debuted in August. We were walking from her office to my office (about four blocks,) and people were coming up to me on the street saying, ‘Miss Tina, I saw this’ or ‘I like that’ or something about Beyoncé or Solange. They all kept calling me Miss Tina. That’s when Mindy said, ‘That’s it! We’re going to call this line Miss Tina!'”
Being a fashionista isn’t exactly easy. If anything, it can be time-consuming.
“Most days, I’m up at 6 a.m. and the days are sometimes 12-, 14-, 16-hour days,” she explains. “I’m sketching or fitting and the deadlines keep coming. This is a hands-on business. If I’m not in New York, I’m running with the sketches to send to New York.”
Although her family is top priority, Tina acknowledges working with them has its trials.
“People tend to think that the reason for my success is due totally to my relationship with Beyoncé. They don’t seem to want to acknowledge the fact that I might be able to accomplish anything on my own; they don’t realize the hard work that goes into every project.”
But, that won’t stop Tina from what she does best.
“I’m a caretaker. I want to take care of everybody. I’m a protective mother first. Actually, that’s the most important and the best job I’ve ever had,” she says with a smile. “I think about how grateful I am to God for all my blessings, and I ask Him to protect my children and keep them healthy and happy. Then, I start sketching in my mind.”
And the process starts all over again.