Every season at fashion week, there is that one guest, glowing serenely among the camera flashes, dressed in a custom outfit, placed in the perfect seat at multiple shows. One year it was a transformed Kim Kardashian West, clad in Balmain and Givenchy; another, it was Rihanna, pulling out looks on looks on looks several months before being named Puma’s creative director.
Look further back, and there is Lil’ Kim (such a fashion fixture that Alexander McQueen called her his “idol”), Madonna (topless at Jean Paul Gaultier in 1992) and Sarah Jessica Parker when “Sex and the City” was just becoming a thing. (It’s now a thing of nostalgia, with bits of its theme song playing this week at show as diverse as Michael Kors and Vaquera.)
This season’s guest-of-the-week award goes to Belcalis Almanzar, your friend Cardi B, the rapper, former “Love & Hip-Hop” star and Instagram-video queen, whose “Bodak Yellow” became the song of summer and reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in September, the first chart topper for a solo female rapper in nearly 20 years.
In January, the 25-year-old landed five of her songs in Billboard’s top 10 in the R&B and hip-hop category, beating the record set by Beyoncé. (If you doubt the catchiness of her lyrics, listen to “Bartier Cardi” and try getting “wanna party with Cardi” out of your head afterward.)
Now Cardi B has become New York Fashion Week’s darling, with appearances at key shows: There she was in a lush green jumpsuit at Christian Siriano, a white fur throw over her shoulder and jewels encrusting her daggerlike nails; at Prabal Gurung in a coatdress and mesh heels; at Jeremy Scott in an oversize black-and-white fur coat with newspaper cutouts printed all over it and white knee-high boots; and at Alexander Wang, in a black-and-tan trench coat, a black turban wrapped around her hair, chatting with Anna Wintour, a pairing that briefly set the internet on fire.
This New York Fashion Week is certainly not Cardi B’s first, but her style credentials have grown significantly since September’s New York shows. In an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine in December, Kollin Carter, who has been Cardi B’s stylist since the spring, said that for a period of time, some labels refused to dress his client. All that is shifting.