In celebration of her birthday, we explore the rapper’s relationship with fashion’s fêted enfant terrible, and her enduring legacy on popular culture
In the December 1998 issue of VIBE Magazine, of which Foxy Brown was the cover star, clad in a silver bikini and clutching her left breast with acrylic talons, editor-in-chief Danyel Smith wrote: “Foxy was seven years old when Janet Jackson hit with Control and What Have You Done for Me Lately. Five when Madonna broke it down with Material Girl. No wonder she’s got so much fabulous arrogance.” Smith’s assertion of Brown’s character was pertinent, to say the least; the Trinidadian, New York-born musician built her career on a potent combination of supreme talent and flagrant feuding, amassing a list of hostilities that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of hip-hop. Lil Kim, Queen Latifah, Eve, Ja Rule, Remy Ma, Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes and Jay Z, to name but a few, were all notable targets in Brown’s firing line.
It’s unsurprising, then, that such an unapologetic diva caught the attention of fashion’s most fêted enfant terrible. John Galliano, equally renowned for producing controversial and polarising work, turned to Foxy Brown as a muse for Dior’s S/S00 collection. As Osman Ahmed wrote of the show’s influence on popular culture: “Galliano’s collection marked a new age for Christian Dior, during which it became both relevant to and aspirational for a new generation. For many, the house embodied quintessential, ladylike glamour, and thus operated as a symbol of 50s femininity and the bourgeoisie: ‘Someone has to take Dior into the 21st century – even if it’s kicking and screaming,’ said Galliano in 2000. All of a sudden, P. Diddy and Foxy Brown were in the court of Christian Dior, redefining what it might mean to be Dior’s clientele.”
Brown performed at the opening of New York’s Christian Dior boutique in 1999, stating: “I’ve always been a John Galliano fan from day one, I think he is the designer for the millenium. I’m his biggest supporter, biggest fan and I know he’s a fan of mine.” Wearing a denim-print halterneck dress with a hankerchief hem from Dior’s S/S00 collection, thinly pencilled-on brows accentuated with a stripe of white highlighter and a deep plum lip, the rapper gushed about her affinity with the designer’s work. “Wherever he goes is where I’m a fan of,” she declared. “I just love his stuff and his work, it’s funky, fun, edgy, and I’m an edgy artist.”
Brown went on to pen lyrics to reflect her fashion icon status, rapping “dark skinned, Christian Dior poster girl” in her 2001 hit Oh Yeah ft. Spragga Benz. This was followed up with 2003’s Stylin’, reiterating: “It’s necessary, we styles in Burberry, and our walk is mean in them Frankie B. jeans bwoy, it’s necessary, we stays in Burberry, and a Marc Jacob bag and a H-Tod shoe.”