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.
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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