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Nicki Mminaj as a rising style muse

A New York Times article analyzing the outrageous and often visually arresting style of rapper Nicki Minaj -
Nicki Minaj has been the most talked-about young rapper to settle into the front row at New York Fashion Week since Marc Jacobs embraced Lil’ Kim as his muse in 2005. She is a sought-after cover girl, with spreads in Elle, Cosmopolitan and W magazine. Ms. Minaj sang hits from her debut album, “Pink Friday,” at recent shows for Victoria’s Secret and H&M. She could even claim Halloween last fall, judging from the scores of tutorials on YouTube for fans seeking her fluorescent look and ice cream swirl tresses.

A year ago,Nicki was making dresses for herself in her basement, said John Demsey, group president of Estée Lauder Companies, which owns MAC Cosmetics, the brand that worked with her on a lipstick. “Now the others want to get their hands on her.”

Those “others” are companies hoping to get in the Nicki Minaj business. And business is booming, thanks in part to Ms. Minaj’s behind-the-scenes moves. Like Lady Gaga before her, she wants to be a high priestess of style.

Some pop stars are born, others made, others spring fully formed from the Internet. Ms. Minaj, 29, whose birth certificate reads Onika Tanya Maraj, moved from Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago, to Queens with her parents when she was 5.

By early February, though, Ms. Minaj had sold more than 1 million albums, and fashion designers were beginning to take note. She was widely photographed prowling the red carpet at the Grammy Awards in a leopard-print bubble-skirted dress and matching leggings designed by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, and a Q-Tip shaped wig streaked with black.
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