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Best Dressed


Toronto’s Best Dressed: Biko Beauttah

Head-to-toe Chanel is a style statement most women can only dream of making. But then, Biko Beauttah is not your typical lady who lunches. The Kenyan-born trans-gender fashion model is known for her over-the-top tastes of both the couture and Kensington variety. This week’s best dressed—spotted at the National Ballet’s White Hot Gala—dishes on her grudge against grunge and why dressing for body type is a universal challenge.


(Photo by Courtney Shea)

Did you buy your outfit in one go, or is Chanel something to be accumulated?
I didn’t buy it all at once. The gloves and shoes are from a couple of seasons ago. I got both at Saks in Las Vegas. The dress is vintage Chanel. There’s a store in Kensington called King of Kensington where the owner calls me whenever they get a new shipment. You can find a lot of great labels if you get there before everything is picked over.

You lived in Kenya until 2006. I’m guessing your look has changed quite a bit in the past few years.
I’ve always lived for clothing, but in Kenya I had to be a closet fashionista. Being trans-gender is illegal there, and the style is just totally different anyway. In high school I wore a lot of hip-hop-type clothing—baggy pants, Tommy Hilfiger, totally not my style. When I went to Dallas and then later to Canada, I could express myself.

Speaking of expressing yourself, are there specific dos and don’ts for trans-gender dressing?
Sure, although it’s not that different. Like any woman, I think about what flatters my body. With my genetic makeup, I’m never going to look good in the same things as, say, Dita Von Teese. I avoid pants, and I almost always wear heels at least four inches tall to make my legs look feminine. I’m lucky I’m not that tall in the first place, otherwise I’d tower over everyone.

What trend would you like to see the end of?
This is easy. I am a huge vintage fan, but I really don’t like the sort of hipster look where younger people just throw on a bunch of stuff that doesn’t match. It’s like they’re trying to look homeless. I like to think everything through. For this outfit, I had the dress and shoes on, and then I thought the gloves would make a nice addition, then, finally, the hat. It’s like Coco Chanel said, “Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions.”

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  • Meow Meow

    Pretty, great figure and legs, and certainly nicer upper arms than me, (the testosterone helps), but the dress is too short for “her” age, and while the pieces are all classic, they somehow seem kind of ordinary on her. I can’t imagine even the tallest and thinnest of waifs making this work… again, while classic, it just looks kind of dated, and white is a tough colour to pull off for anyone.

    It would be cliché to say that she would be best-suited in something more avant-garde, so while she looks nice, what makes her the “Best Dressed”, Toronto Life? Unless she were trans-gender and media-worthy, I believe she would just be another one of the nicely-dressed, pretty girls in Chanel… but “Best Dressed”? I’m giving this one a thumbs down. I would have loved however to be a fly on the wall if one of the “boys”, after a few cocktails, started hitting on her…

    You’ve probably got a better body and looks than most of the women who attended the event Biko, but once you start appearing in the “Best Dressed” section and they give us “ordinary folk” space to comment, you’re fair game… Am I being too catty? – Meow Meow

  • Greg

    Meow Meow’s got it all wrong. Biko girl, you’re looking head-to-toe fab.

    For the record, I agree about those hipsters going for the homeless look. Look in a mirror, people!

  • MiLe

    There is absolutely nothing fabulous, unique, creative, or fashion forward about that outfit. Not sure why it made the “Best Dressed” list as I’m sure most people with a decent fashion sense could pull that together and there are plenty of other outfits that could outshine that one. Toronto Life, WHO is making your picks??? They need to get out more.

  • sage

    Clearly this gal is here because it is politically correct and I find that run-of-the-mill offensive. Should I, a white, natural woman with a similar body, have shown up in this mish mash of dated, not vintage, Chanel, we can be sure there would be no cameras flashing. Biko, I am proud of you to be who you are as well as a stunning woman, but this is not one for the “Best Dressed” list.

    I agree with Meow Meow – as usual.

  • sally

    Sage and MM: Why waste your time on being offended? You don’t like the clothes? Fine. You’re both wrong, but whatever, you’re entitled to your opinion. But why jump on TL for putting up transgendered person? Personally, I thought this was an elegant, flawlessly assembled outfit – I didn’t even realize that it was a transgendered person until I read the interview. Really, this whole package of is amazing: a totally interesting story behind a totally beautiful outfit. As for you, Sage, leave your condescending “pride” at the door for now. Concentrate instead on the fact that you DIDN’T wear this outfit, you DIDN’T make it work, you DIDN’T get your picture taken – Biko did, and that’s what makes it amazing.

  • White Guy

    Why is it that whenever a non-white/non-straight person is chosen for anything, some white person always comes forward and says, “The only reason they were chosen is because they’re black/Asian/Hispanic/gay/actually a dude”?

  • Savage

    What a fun piece! Finally something different on here. Lets see more of Biko. Very refreshing. Please Toronto Life, tell us more about Biko.

  • Meow Meow

    I’d like to remind “Sally” that this column is called, “Best Dressed”, which in itself is a pretty big statement. It implies that of EVERY single person who attended this event (let’s guess about 1,000), the chosen one had the best “ensemble”, aka the “Best Dressed”. The column isn’t called “Most Charming Dinner Conversationalist”. I really don’t care who wins, my comment in this case, trans-gendered or not, is while I think she looks great, I don’t think she deserves the title of “Best Dressed”… but hey, what do I know… I wasn’t there.. maybe she was, so I therefore suggest that a democratic process of voting be implemented. That way we get to nitpick ten outfits instead of one.

    Toronto Life should post the top ten outfits for each event and let the reader’s decide. Voting is also kinda catty, and frankly I also wince when I look at those “Who Wore it Best” features in the tabloids… Paris Hilton 37% Nicole Ritchie 63%

    Don’t kid yourself “White Guy”, Toronto Life picks people for this column very strategically… It’s no different than tv… do you think that even one second of every joke and gag on a show like Letterman is spontaneous? Every single second is scripted, and print media doesn’t just randomly choose their subjects lightly – it’s a big business based on generating revenue through subscriptions, and without good content, it’s nothing.

    So give us MORE “Best Dressed” per column and let us vote, Toronto Life!

    Okay, enough recreation for one day! Thanks Biko for braving the public, thanks respondents and thanks Toronto Life. Now I’ve really got to get back to work!

  • ME-ow

    What a bunch of catty beeotches that comment on this feature!

    Complain, complain, complain.

  • chimmy

    I dont see what all the fuss is about. What is so special about what the persona is wearing? Plan jane!

  • chimmy

    Plain Jane…sorry.

  • love it

    Biko looks fantastic. Coco would be proud!

  • Gingio

    Kudos on anywoman who can wear a hat these days. Its almost like this type of classic style is dead! Lets bring it back!! Biko certainly has the “balls” to pull this look off. lol.

  • I’ve been there

    I’ve attended the Gala with a friend and we’ve spend a good part of the evening trying to figure out if this person in ridiculous hat was in fact a woman…Well, FRIEND, you were right..This is a man, transgender or not.
    There were plenty of stylish, beautiful women, both young and mature, at the Gala… TL, why didn’t you pick someone who really has some sense of style? There were several 50+ women who wore stunning outfits. One had an amazing avant-garde red dress, another wore beautiful skin-tone lace outfit…Anyone can put black and white together.

  • sage

    It is exactly because Biko is a transgender that her picture is there.

  • Maggie

    Toronto Life Kicks Ass! HOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    People on here are such haters! This person clearly garners attention by the looks of the comments and she totally deserves to be on here. Dont hate her coz she is beautiful.

  • Seraph

    This is NOT a great outfit. I’m a stylist and I can say it’s over-done, trying waaaayyy too hard, very contrived to the point of looking costumey. It’s just so literal. Chanel is meant to be personalized and worn in an unpredictable way. She looks like a church lady. If she wore this out in Paris people would snicker. I couldn’t give a crap who she is…but she’s definitely not best-dressed.

  • Maggie

    Seraph, I doubt you have ever been to Paris. If you are so stylish, why are you not on any best dressed list?

    I took the liberty to google Biko Beautah and I was surprised that not only has Toronto Life declared her Best Dressed but, she has also receved a NOW Magazine Style Award for being the most stylish person in Toronto. She has also been featured as a Style Maker in Dallas TX by Fashion Dallas Magazine. ALSO, if you follow this link, you can also see a short clip of Biko on THE TYRA BANKS SHOW clearly for some type of Fashion or Style thing

    All of you are clearly just haters and bitter because Biko shatters your preconcieved notions of what a TRANNY is.

    Lighten up, its Pride Week! YIKES!

  • chimmy

    Who the heck gives Tyra Banks any credit? That girl is a tool and fake.

  • Kate Young

    Looks over done, she looks like she should be at the races.

  • woof woof

    I like how she put black and white together, separately on the top and together in the shoes. To have them all in Chanel is also a plus (coco will be proud). The pieces are all simple and yes, plain, but she made a style out of them. Nice quilted chain bag! Something I’d use for the office but she made it worked! The focus(dress) being all white surrounded by black. Definitely worth the BEST DRESSED, style-wise.

    For others, put your egos aside and don’t be too jealous. Yes, anyone can put the items together but she showed you how.

  • Seraph

    Maggie, I have been a stylist for over a decade and have not only lived in Paris but attended the shows several seasons in a row. This is not a great outfit. This has nothing to do with who this person is or whether I’ve been on any similar lists. It’s overdone. It looks comical. I’m entitled to my professional opinion.

  • MissAnthroPuss

    Not sure why I’m even bothering to comment, but I expect more from a “Best Dressed” category. This is Toronto, not the sticks after all.
    Also, the pose is certainly incongruous with the outfit.

  • Boss Hog

    That’s a tranny? oh noo….. I have been forwarding this photo to my poker buddies all week saying look at this absolute hottie! I still don’t believe she’s a tranny.

  • skratula

    lol, I’ve been reading through the comments section of past best dressed columns and don’t really get the wrath and vitriol over something so dumb, subjective, and inconsequential. Unless of course I’m missing something and the cattiness is supposed to be funny (sorry guys, but it’s not). Can someone please enlighten- is the inordinate outrage a joke or what?

  • skratula

    oh and LOL at comparing this column to Letterman, ahahahaha

  • peko

    Go Biko!!

    I like the look and I agree with the model that hipsters who mismatch everything don’t look so hot.

    Who cares if it’s vintage or just a previous season – an individual pulls a look off not the other way around where a look dictates individual style.

    Let’s be honest, how many of these catty commentors can afford current channel or totally authentic vintage, p’ashat!!

  • Valentina

    “Also, the pose is certainly incongruous with the outfit.”
    Seriously? No, I’m not sure why you bothered to comment either.

    And skratula, I learned that vitriol is best saved for the likes of Liar, Liar, (Deena) Pantalone(s) on Fire.

  • Boss Hog

    I absolutely adore those shoes

  • Mcflash

    If that’s a tranny then colour my rectum distended.

  • Metal Micky

    She looks great. It’s “Best Dressed,” not most fashion forward or most clever matching of eras – betcha that, if you saw her at this event, she’d stand out and you would look twice. Works for me – she looks great. It’s also an interview piece, so getting a sense that the subject has something interesting to say about fashion is also really important. In that way, the fact that she’s a tranny helps – a different question to ask than the usual stuff in this column – and also, it’s led to more comments, which is also good for the website, it’s keeping us here longer, and more engaged. But as far as the look: not the most avant-garde, but I loved it.

  • Keri Lotion

    Biko, I know you don’t listen to the haters, but just in case any of them get under your skin once in a while, know that you have many, many people in your corner. You looked fabulous in that Chanel ensemble. You are not just one of the best dressed in Toronto, but in Canada. Check that, in North America. Check that – in the Western Hemisphere. No, check that again. You are one of the best dressed in the world. I love you and you are truly a role model!


  • Milly

    Biko rocks TL Keep up the good job.people would you stop complaining and appreciate somethung which is good atleast for once.

  • Mova Mwendwa

    Hi Biko u look gourgious in that outfit, WHAT A FLY IMPRESSIVE OUTLOOK cheers ……………


    biko you look great and that is the version of a kenyan transgendered. The rest watch out my look on facebook . My name on facebook is ‘joji baro’ see you there.