Nearly 10 years ago, Solange was practically a child bride. Her sister, Beyoncé, their close friend (and Destiny’s Child member) Kelly Rowland, and cousin Angie Beyince, filled the role of traditional bridesmaids. Their service was marked by gaudy embellished mauve sheaths and a gloss of naïveté. Solange was 17 at the time, and still becoming acquainted with motherhood. She and Daniel Smith, the father of her son Julez, divorced when she was 21.
Sunday’s photographs documented an about-face made complete, and it’s no wonder Vogue was chosen to first disseminate the images. In recent years, Solange has established herself as a New York fashion plate, so much so that it became evident her style was beginning to seep into her sister’s wardrobe (See: Bey and Jay’s trip to Cuba).
At 28, Solange represents what it means to have the opportunity to mine and distill what one wishes to broadcast about oneself to the world. Comparisons to her more-famous older sister are inevitable. Where Beyoncé embraces a glamour that sometimes flirts with cartoonish vulgarity, Solange is understated, chic, and bohemian. They represent opposite communiqués of femininity, but both are equally valid insofar as they are both genuine.
Their differences and reverence for each other are familiar to sisters the world over, which is why we devoured video of them performing together at Coachella with such relish, and why we were so stricken at the suggestion of familial strife indicated by the now-infamous Elevator Incident.
Michael K of DListed has long referred to Solange as Basement Baby, an unfortunate nickname that doesn’t just reference Solange’s position as The Other Knowles Sister, but could just as easily be applied to Jamie Lynn Spears or Ashley Simpson. There’s an entire legion of lesser-known celebrity siblings who would make for compelling psychological case studies, from Roger Clinton to Randy Quaid. But if we see Solange as Beyoncé does — as the sister who taught Queen Bey to speak her mind — we see so much more.
In images of Solange in her Humberto Leon for Kenzo gown and cape, flanked by her 10 best women (including Beyoncé, their mother Tina Knowles and singer Janelle Monae), she is both super heroine and royalty, crowned with an Afro befitting the country’s reigning queen of black eclecticism, mistress of a legion of girls ready to run the world. A movie screening for wedding guests Friday and the clothes themselves suggest Solange was heavily influenced by Diana Ross in “Mahogany.” At the same time, wrists alight with Jill for Lady Grey gold cuffs, she is an up-to-date Wonder Woman in white, poised to march forward.