Marquis Bias speaking with ABC at the USC Fashion Week Show
photo by Keri Goff for The Daily Gamecock“Put both of them on,” Marquis Bias instructed handing the model two gold braided belts. She wrapped them around her waist and turned around for Marquis’s approval. He nodded, scanning the clothes carefully placed on the walls of DeLibel Boutique, “There’s alot of pieces here to choose from but it has to go with my story,” he said.
The story was told last night at 701 Whaley as the Fashion Board at the University of South Carolina put on their annual fashion show as apart of their fashion week. This year featured one student designer named Laura McCall, as well as 8 local boutiques, and was Marquis’s 3rd year putting on the event, his second as President. “I guess in a way it is [my grand finale].” He says looking down at his armful of bracelets, and idly playing with one of his most prized, an Alexis Bittar given to him by roommate and Fashion Board Vice President of Social Outreach, Ashleigh Armstrong.
A few days before the show, which boasted an audience of about 350 people, I sat in on one of Marquis’s many fittings and chatted with him about his life in fashion as well as the industry in general.
“I wanna be [Andre Leon Talley] when I grow up, I really want to be him when I grow up, he has so much power in the industry,” Marquis confided in me. Though he named names like June Ambrose, Nicola Formichetti, and Rachel Zoe when asked about inspirational people in the industry it was Talley who stuck out to him. Not only does the striking similarity in life stories impact Marquis(both were raised in small traditional southern towns where they were introduced to glamour, beauty, and fashion by their grandmothers) but also Talley’s way of doing things. He explained how Talley has a penchant for taking new industry personel under his wing. “Especially for the black girls in the industry: when they come in the industry with a bad hair weave he takes them under his wing, introduces them to Valentino , and goes and get their hair done.”
Having worked for Gregory Ellenburg of Gregory Ellenburg, Anne Postic of The Shop Tart, and Annabelle LaRoque of LaRoque, Marquis knows a bit about what it takes to be a success in the industry. “One of the key things to being a successful stylist is relationships,” says Marquis rotating Rocko, a green jeweled lizard ring, on his finger. Relationships with designers, models, photographers, and even other stylists all can benefit a working stylist. One of Marquis’s most cherished relationships is the one he has with industry stylist, Becca Alexis, who is a huge mentor of his.”I know she’s like crazy busy and yet she always makes time to respond to my messages and stuff.” said Marquis of the stylist who’s worked with Janet Jackson, Kanye West, and Trey Songz.
Marquis mainly stood alone as he hosted the fashion show last night. In a pair of sequined trousers and with an armful of new pieces, he thanked retailers and designers for allowing a “little boy from Timmonsville” to use their resources for year after year to put on what has become one of the largest annual fashion shows in Columbia. The show is Marquis’s last as apart of Fashion Board but we’re sure to see his Louis Vuitton monogrammed hold-all flitting around Columbia for at least a little longer as he continues on in his pursuit to “beautify the world one sequin at a time.”