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Cardi B at Couture Fashion Week
Courtesy of Getty Images, Stephane Cardinale, Corbis

Cardi B makes a Big Bird return to couture

The rapper debuted a Schiaparelli look before it had even surfaced on the runway

Cardi B knows good fashion. In the past few weeks alone, the musician has transformed herself into a cyber-goth Brat doll courtesy of Dahl Designs, a modern-day Lady Miss Kier in kitsch Pucci catsuits, and some kind of “Artpop” antihero in vertiginous Han Kjøbenhavn boots. In an era when most celebrities think it's enough to dress in a spangled bodysuit, Cardi’s commitment to originality and being just a little bit unusual in her fashion choices is a rare talent. It’s also at Paris Fashion Week that she asserts herself as pop culture’s most experimental dresser – tottering about in floral-print Richard Quinn gimp suits in 2018 and vintage Mugler in 2021 – with her looks rivalling the grandeur of the runways.

Perhaps that’s why Daniel Roseberry chose the musician to debut the first glimpse at his 2024 couture collection this morning. Cardi entered the venue in a behemoth bird-like shrug and corsetted dress that surfaced on the catwalk not long after. The best part of that outfit wasn’t the physical space it took up, but the freakish detail of a gilded belly button piercing, which felt perverted in all the right ways. The collection itself was a little less controversial than last season’s hyper-realistic animal heads, but it was just as mind-boggling: mirrored coats in blanket-sized proportions, pencil skirts constructed from hundreds of golden pebbles, and enormous hirsute jackets with asymmetric boulders for shoulders. 

Elsewhere, the wooden hands of old mannequins were strung across waists, entire coats were made from piles of found objects, and tailored jackets featured swooping buttresses of extra material at the hip. Though stylist Kollin Carter is in part responsible for Cardi’s foothold in fashion, there’s a sense that the rapper is a real collector of clothing, grabbing giant, acrylic-tipped fistfuls of every archive at her disposal. She knows that she’s better dressed than most, too, having taken one look at this year’s Grammy’s and tweeting “I really want to style other celebs.” Maybe she’ll be pulling from Schiaparelli’s latest offering when it comes to dressing Arca, who replied to that broadcast with a decisive “style me”.