Black Expo fashion show host makes ‘fabulous’ his brand

Patrick Bouquett A.K.A. Mr. Fabulous

Bouquett, 47, has been hosting the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration fashion show for the better part of a decade and is looking forward to this year’s event, 4:30 to 6 p.m. Saturday in the Indiana Convention Center’s Hall G.

“I make the models do what they do,” he said, laughing.

The lifelong east-sider started working with Black Expo more than 30 years ago, when he was 13. That’s when he got his first chance to become involved with the fashion show, but he didn’t see walking the runway as an option.

“I was chunky,” he said. “I wasn’t what they probably considered model material. And I’ve always been more of a … flamboyant man, you know, coming from the LGBT community. I was maybe too flamboyant for what they considered on the runway. So I’ve always been on the back end helping things.”

But that didn’t stop him from showing off his exuberance, even as a teenager. He remembers cutting the shoulder pads out of his Sunday suit to safety-pin under the shoulders of a multi-colored fireworks display of a red shirt he planned to wear out on the town during one Black Expo event in the ’80s.

“Fashion is always a big deal,” he said. “It creatively makes you who you are.”

With no chance to become a model, though, Bouquett went behind the scenes.

“I found the art for me was the microphone,” he said. “I fell in love with the microphone. I said, ‘I can walk the models, I can make them walk the runways, I can talk fabulous.'”

And “fabulous” is very much his brand. One of his two day jobs includes custodial service Just Fab Commercial Janitorial Service, which he owns and operates. The other? He’s the regional director of marketing and business of Pharmaneek, a local pharmacy service company.

Known by his stage name in the LGBT and black communities, Bouquett has become a fixture in both. And he’s easy to spot: The license plate on his 2016 Mercedes 300C says “MR FAB,” and even when he’s “dressed down,” Bouquett is still very much for show: On a regular weekday at a coffee shop, he was wearing a Gucci belt and Gucci loafers with metal adornments, carrying a Gucci purse and sporting Prada sunglasses that covered about one-third of his face.

“I don’t think if I wasn’t fabulous, that you wouldn’t want me to host your show,” he said. “Would you hire someone to do a fashion show that just did not look fashionable?”

His persona has become a staple in the fashion show, said event chairperson Nicole Freeman. He’s not just an announcer.

“He kind of freestyles it,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like he’s just standing up there reading a piece of paper. Patrick definitely keeps the interest on the show. I don’t want to say he’s over the top, but he’s over the top. But it’s not like ‘oh my gosh, he’s on my nerves.’ He intrigues you. He gets your interest.”

After Bouquett stopped attending Summer Celebration, he became a volunteer, serving as a committee member or chairperson on various events. He hopes his personal confidence will guide other Summer Celebration attendees who might still be figuring out who they are.

“Whatever their identity is, being able to walk in that identity with no issues,” he said. “That’s what I would want.”

Call IndyStar reporter Amy Bartner at (317) 444-6752. Follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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