Some people have spent the last ten months begging Beyoncé to release a visual accompaniment to her Renaissance album, which is something she clearly had no intention of doing. But last night, the musician managed to go one better and showcased some visual CLOTHES. Billed as an ode to dance music and queer culture, the album was really an opportunity to namecheck Telfar, Hermès, Versace, Bottega Veneta, Prada, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Givenchy with all the braggadocio of an ascendant ballroom star. She didn’t wear any of those brands at her Stockholm debut, but Beyoncé’s wardrobe did run the gamut of megawatt and glitter-bomb couture.
Working in collaboration with costume designer Shiona Turini, she first emerged semi-nude on a wraparound screen big enough to fill a football stadium, before dancing with robots and leaving the venue on a spangled stallion. Here is a non-exhaustive list of all the outfits she embodied: a sequined Loewe bodysuit emblazoned with manicured hands, an anatomically-beaded Alexander McQueen bodysuit with armour-like accents, and a Courrèges mini dress affixed with a mirrored, disco ball pendant. There was even a monastic gown with overblown bishop sleeves that changed colour when exposed to UV light – designed by the Japanese brand Anrealage which went viral over the AW23 season.
Perhaps the most rousing moment of the night was when Beyoncé stepped onto the stage in a custom Mugler bodysuit, topped with a 1997-inspired antennae headpiece. The look corroborated her position as queen bee presiding over a phalanx of worker drones and the optics of that – compared to her radical, anti-labour politics on “Break My Soul” – could be unpacked in various directions. Not that anyone cares, though, because politics are an unnecessary accessory when you’re rich. Plus, the musician has a longstanding relationship with the house of Mugler. Her patronage of Thierry’s motorcycle corset during her Sasha Fierce era helped propel the designer’s archive into public consciousness.
The only thing missing from Beyoncé’s costuming was her surprise collaboration with Olivier Rousteing at Balmain – a 16-piece collection designed as a song-by-song companion to the Renaissance album. Everything within that capsule was extra and OTT and sculptural: phonograph headpieces and pagoda-brimmed chapeaus, pannier-hipped gowns made from braided hair, and draped mini-dresses in stretch sequins. Still, there are 56 shows left of her worldwide tour and she will no doubt do a bit of branded promo at some point or another. Click through the gallery above to see the rest of the costumes from Beyoncé’s first tour in five years.