Each season, year and epoch has its own fashion stars and people who attract attention. During the Paris Fashion Week spring-summer 2022, Cardi B dazzled. Born on October 11, 1992, raised in the troubled Bronx, the proud extripper is not only a rapper of all time, but also a fashion icon and queen of camp.
She came to the Balenciaga show in a coat with mock tabloid prints. The covers featured headlines encouraging to do good, such as “Let’s Protect Life and Our Planet”, “Let’s Make the World Better”, “Happiness”, “Respect” and “Love”. On her head was a large flat lampshade hat from the first haute couture collection designed by Demna Gvasali for Balenciaga. The phenomenal headgear, created in cooperation with Philip Treacy, refers to the heritage of the fashion house.
In Paris, Cardi B. also wore surreal clothes by Schiaparelli. They were decorated with golden breast-shaped brooches. Breasts with clearly marked breasts previously appeared in the video “Rumors”, but not only.
Cardi B exposes buttocks
In the clip “Wap”, golden sculptures in the shape of huge buttocks and breasts hang on the curved candy-blue walls in place of the wall lamps. In front of the rap mansion, where the action of the music video takes place, there is a rotating fountain in the form of naked statues depicting crouching Cardi B with her tongue out and naked breasts from which water gushes out. The feminist revolution made the buttocks and breasts, the most fetishized parts of the female body, symbols of strength today.
The breastplates of “Rumors” and the ornaments of “Wap” are reminiscent of ancient statues such as “Venus of Willendorf” or “The Serpent Goddess of Knossos”. Their photos often illustrate texts describing the history of matriarchy.
Cardi B proudly exhibits her own buttocks with a multicolored peacock tattooed on it. She admits that when she was 19 she had breast surgery.
Cardi B acrylic nail tips are a symbol of female strength
A proud symbol of female strength are also richly decorated Cardi B tips. Natalie Meade, editor of The New Yorker, believes that styling and decorating nails are unique feminine rituals. “Treatments for hair and nails are rituals of transition to the world of black femininity” – writes in the text “See You Next Time Explores the Meaning of the Manicure for Black Women”. She points out that a visit to the salon is a moment when an intimate bond deeply rooted in tradition arises between women who perform and undergo beauty treatments. She also points out that the nail style used to depend on the color of the skin. White women preferred a gentle French manicure, while black women loved the exaggeration and the camp turned into art. Natalie Meade calls it “black women’s hair-and-nail art.”
Cardi B’s extra long acrylic nail tips are decorated with crystals, golden balls and pearls. For years, the same nail artist, Jenny Bui – an American of Cambodian origin, has been doing them.
Cardi B: Queen of Camp
Cardi B sat on the throne of the queen of camp in 2019, when she appeared at the Met Gala opening the exhibition “Camp: Notes on Fashion”. She was wearing the Thom Browne outfit at the time. The designer’s aesthetics draws from camp. The New Yorker is a master of exaggeration, exaggerated, post-gendered, opera-ballet fashion. Cardi B’s dress had an enormous curved train with feathers on it. It looked like a futuristic version of Queen Elizabeth I Tudor’s 16th century creations paired with Barbarella’s uniform. The Thom Browne design clearly shows the breasts and nipples. They were carved from tiny rubies, which made the camp dress worth a fortune.
Theatrical, but true, passionate religiosity is also an element of the camp. In the film made by “Vogue” just before the Met Gala, Cardi B says a prayer with her crew.
The triumph of impracticality
The camp fashion is distinguished by extreme impracticality. The rapper is usually surrounded by a wreath of people who support her great creations. Camp designs are not clothes, but costumes that are worn in real life, for example at the opening of the exhibition “Thierry Mugler, Couturissime” at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. The opening took place in September 2021 during the Paris Fashion Week. The rapper posed in a red, feathered, royal gown from the haute couture collection for the winter of 1995. Thierry Mugler’s show was an hour-long spectacle of operatic momentum, sung by James Brown. The New York Times described him as the Woodstock of the fashion world.
Another outfit from the same historic show Cardie B wore in 2019. At the Grammy Awards, she appeared in a satin gown inspired by Botticelli’s Renaissance canvas “The Birth of Venus”. The outfit resembles a parting shell or a blooming flower. On stage, the rapper appeared in a transparent leopard print jumpsuit with peacock feathers and numerous trinkets. Constructions made of satin and feathers looked like saints.
Even more impractical, though less spectacular, was a flower-embellished set designed by Richard Quinn. The wizard covered Cardi B’s entire body, including her face. During the Paris fashion week spring-summer 2020, the artist posed in front of the Eiffel Tower and only thanks to the characteristic voice and the Latin American style typical of the Bronx do we know that it was Cardi B.
Cardi B: Features of a rap star
The unique voice and colorful personality made the daughter of Dominikańczyk and Trinidadka from the Bronx become the first rapper in the world, whose music reached the tops of the Billboard Hot 100 twice. She made her debut on the prestigious list with her first album – published in 2018 “Invasion of Privacy”. For this album, she was the first rapper in history to receive the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.
Success and recognition also ensured her uncompromising attitude and overflowing femininity, which includes, among others, pride in being a stripper. In the American “Vogue” she said that the work of an erotic dancer allowed her to break free from poverty and independence from toxic men.
Cardi B first appeared on Instagram, where she talked about the work of a stripper in a characteristic, pleasantly vulgar, sometimes shocking style. Fame in social media meant that she was invited to participate in the reality show “Love & Hip Hop”. The show was the final step on her path to fame, which today is ensured by her intelligent rap, phenomenal music videos and a spectacular image. Part of it is a serious and worth millions, but at the same time playful (oxymorons are also part of the camp) nickname. The rapper’s sister’s name is Hennessy, so friends named the rapper Bacardi. As the reach grew, Instagram blocked the profile of the aspiring rapper, accusing her of misusing the proprietary name. As a result, Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar switched letters and adopted the stage name Cardi B. Today she is a global symbol of strong, black, female rap.