As if getting tickets to Beyoncé’s tour wasn’t hard enough, imagine the horrors that would be trying to nab a couture item designed by Ms. Knowles-Carter herself. Couture on its own is already covetable and exorbitantly expensive, truly only available to an exclusive type of clientele, but high fashion touched by the hands of Beyoncé? In the form of a limited-edition collaboration? It would be carnage. Anyway, now that scrumptious, bedazzled, corseted, feathered, line-down-the-block-outside-the-store nightmare is a reality thanks to Balmain.
Today, just a day after reports emerged she was terminating her contract with Adidas, the superstar and the fashion house’s creative director, Olivier Rousteing, released 17 looks inspired by Beyoncé’s most recent powerhouse album, Renaissance. Rousteing told Vogue the collaboration came to be after listening to the record on repeat. The designer couldn’t stop sketching and imagining “the sketches inside her album, how they would relate to the songs and the lyrics,” he said. “It wasn’t something I was supposed to be doing but I was just inspired by the music to do it.” He reached out to the star to see if she’d be interested in co-designing a collection with him, and over the past five months, including a ten-day stretch in which the Balmain atelier relocated to Los Angeles, Rousteing worked alongside Beyoncé and her stylist, Marni Senofonte, to produce a line with each outfit inspired by a lyric from Renaissance.
A quick glance at the collection makes it clear that this is one for statement-making. In it, a substantially spiked, hammered metal breastplate is paired with leather opera gloves and a long, black pareo skirt is inspired by the lyrics “From the top of the morning, I shine (ah-ooh) / Right through the blinds (ah-ooh) / Touching everything in my plain view / And everything next to me gets lit up, too (ugh).” A brass and crystal pendant bustier, made to look like a dangling chandelier, draped over a black, velvet bodysuit and matching chandelier earrings is inspired by the lyric “He thought he was loving me good, I told him, ‘Go harder.’” And a cacophony of black-and-white stripes and checkers make up a jumpsuit, underlaid beneath a white corset, and come from the lyric “You know it’s Friday night and I’m ready to drive.”
The public, unbeknownst to us all, tasted a morsel of the collection at the Grammys and the BRIT Awards earlier this year, the latter of which Beyoncé wore the aforementioned black-and-white ensemble to. Rousteing, who himself is one of the few Black designers in couture, noted that this appears to be the first time that a Black woman “has overseen the couture offering from an historic Parisian house.”
It’s unclear as to when a presumably select few sartorialists will get the chance to purchase their very own Balmain x Beyoncé look, but based on the way ticket (and merch) sales went down, I can only assume it’ll be warfare, albeit, very fashionable warfare. I can see it now. Websites crashing. Tattered cowboy hats and shattered disco balls littering the floor of the Balmain atelier. People with watches the price of mortgages on their wrists smacking each other to the ground with their multicolored Telfars. It would make Verified Fan Presale day on Ticketmaster look like a spa day.
For the rest of us normies, who are literally begging and groveling for Renaissance visuals (what do we need to do to get them? Unionize?), maybe these pieces of couture, and the imagery that accompanies them, can hold us over? Just maybe.