I know what you're thinking. Of course Beyonce is a style icon! Beyonce is EVERYTHING! And you'd have a point. After all, some of her most iconic outfits have earned a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. But Vanessa Friedman of The New York Times does not believe she deserves that particular honor. Could she be... right?
In a piece called "Beyonce, Superstar but Not a Fashion Icon," Friedman argues that the mega-famous singer has not influenced the fashion landscape enough to be considered a paragon of style. This may sound like some high-grade shade, but Friedman has an interesting point. Here, in her own words, Friedman explains just why she doesn't think Beyonce has earned the title of "style icon."
Beyoncé hasn’t moved, or influenced, the direction of fashion writ large in the way that, say, Rihanna, the winner of this year’s CFDA Fashion Icon award, has. (See, for example, the luxe athletic pieces peppering collections like Pucci, Balmain and Tom Ford.) 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.
Friedman is not saying that Beyonce doesn't sport some killer red carpet dresses and performance costumes. Rather, she feels that wearing nice outfits does not a fashion icon make. Everyone with eyes and ears can probably agree that Beyonce is fierce and talented as hell. I'm not even a huge fan of her music (I shudder to think of what they Beygency will do to me now) and I can still recognize how important she is as a cultural figure. She's a force of nature. But that doesn't mean she changed the face of fashion.
The truth is, whether Beyonce sets off clothing trends or not, we will always pay attention to what she's wearing. Her extravagant stage costumes are museum worthy not because they influenced designers, but because she wore them. Which, ultimately, is part of Friedman's argument — Beyonce kind of doesn't need to be a fashion icon.
[B]y opting to build her celebrity on a carefully chosen set of proprietary symbols — in this case, smile and hair and body (and voice, of course) — as opposed to a carefully constructed, apparel-related look, Beyoncé & Company have ensured that the only brand that really has any real staying power is brand Beyoncé; that everything she is selling comes back to her.