HOUSTON - Tina Knowles takes great care to remove the lid of a giant box. She pulls out a thick purple book and cradles it in her hands. It bears a gold symbol that looks at first glance like a fancy backward letter C.
She invites a closer look.
"It's an accent, but it also looks like a mother and child. That's the House of Dereon," she says.
Mothers and daughters inspired the new clothing line Knowles has launched with her megastar offspring, Beyonce. Its name and logo - a much-embellished accent agu - are reminders of Knowles' mother, Agnes Dereon, who died in 1984.
Showing off pages of designs in the book, Knowles describes the line in three words: kick, couture and soul.
"Beyonce is the kick, I am the couture, and Agnes is the soul," she says. "We just didn't want to slap a name on clothes. We wanted something Beyonce would be happy to wear. This is a serious fashion line."
When it is fully up and running next year, the House of Dereon (pronounced duh-RAHN) will offer a mix of styles, from couture to urbanwear, where "salon and street meet," says Knowles.
The first looks debuted on stage, not on a runway. Elements of the 15 crystal- and leather-embellished costumes Beyonce and her Destiny's Child co-stars, Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams, have been wearing on their current Destiny Fulfilled tour will be incorporated into the line.
"We'll do things differently and tone it down so that it's wearable every day," Knowles says.
The new line also will incorporate a mix of fabrics, from chiffon to silk to wool gabardine. Some fabrics will be made exclusively for the House of Dereon.
Knowles has been the designer and stylist for Destiny's Child since its inception. She's developed a reputation for elaborate and often sexy costumes, evening gowns and street wear for the group that conjure up images of the Supremes and Motown.
While Knowles is involved with every aspect of the design, she has created a small powerhouse team that includes Heather Thomson Schindler, who helped P. Diddy launch his Sean Jean line and served as a design consultant on Jennifer Lopez's line, J.Lo.
"This is not just a clothing line," Thomson Schindler says.
"We are creating a brand. This is a labor of love that comes from three generations of women, and that takes time."
She says the line has a broad target market - ages 13 to 40 - with a look that blends Beyonce's style with the elegance and sophistication of couture.
First out will be a denim collection, debuting at Macy's and other Federated stores in December. It will include jeans in the $125 range.
Knowles wanted to create jeans that all women could wear well, regardless of the size of their derriere.
"I want the woman with the flattest butt and the woman with the largest one to look good in these jeans," she says.
Darts in the back and a split seam on the waistband help give them a better fit.
"It's fashion that's attainable," Thomson Schindler says.
"It's not something just for the elite and those sitting in the front row of a fashion show. That's what Tina wanted. This is her dream."
A couture collection will be offered at Barney's and Bergdorf Goodman next spring.
Knowles says 10 percent of the House of Dereon proceeds will go to charities such as the Bread of Life program for the homeless at St. John's United Methodist Church in Houston.
As a child growing up in Galveston, Knowles helped her mother sew clothes and became fascinated with fitted styles from the 1930s and '40s.
"I am a fanatic about fit. That's what separates couture clothing from everyday clothes. It's the best feeling in the world to put on a jacket and not have to get it altered. We're taking the attention to fit that you find in vintage clothes and putting our spin on it."
Eventually, she wants to expand the line to include perfume bottles, handbags and shoes.
Knowles' venture into the clothing business comes with unique challenges aside from tour performances and red-carpet appearances by Destiny's Child. There are production deadlines, regular trips to New York to meet with the design team and demands to release the line.
"I fight every day to make sure we maintain quality and that we don't rush to produce something just to make money," she says.
"All of my life I've been transferring people, always fixing them up - their makeup, their hair, their clothes. Now, this a dream come true, and we want to do it right."
The House of Dereon takes some of its cues from the stage costumes of Destiny's Child, but with less sparkle and toned-down sexiness.