Last week the long awaited Renaissance World Tour kicked off its 57-show run in Stockholm. While expectedly there was a lot of excitement around the set list, production and overall experience; costuming was a huge topic. Beyoncé is not only a trendsetter in how she releases, produces and performs music but also in her costuming.
One of her biggest trendsetting fashion pieces is the leotard. We first saw Beyonce wear a leotard to perform at the Staples Center in LA in 2009. Since then she has become known for it, and a lot of performing artists have adopted the look for their shows too.
Now, for her sixth solo concert tour, five years after she was last on the road with Jay Z for On The Run 2, we have seen Bey move away from leotards slightly, donning some full outfits instead. Take a look at every custom outfit she wore for her debut show, styled by Shiona Turini, KJ Moody, Julia Sarr-Jamois and their assistants.
To open the show, singing Dangerously In Love, Beyoncé wore a custom Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton bodysuit with silver bugle beads and crystal anatomical embroidery that was hand-sewn onto a black tulle base. This look was inspired by Look 39 in the AW23 collection. While McQueen is a favourite of Beyoncé for red carpets and covers; they’re not regular collaborators for show costuming. While undoubtedly stunning, this was the tamest and probably my least favourite look of the night.
Balmain by Olivier Rousteing and Beyoncé on the other hand, have had a long standing relationship; he designed costumes for the Formation world tour and her 2018 Coachella performance. This year, in collaboration with Marni Senofonte, they released a couture collection inspired by the Renaissance album. It came as no surprise therefore that Beyonce wore Balmain on opening night. The caged pearl detailed full sleeve leotard was paired with a matching hat and pearl trimmed sunglasses. The look was inspired by Look 43 and Look 9 (for the headpiece) in the AW23 show; where Rousteing chose to look back and pay homage to the style of Monsieur Balmain and the house.
Before the Balmain look was revealed, it was underneath a white robe by Tokyo based brand Anrelage by Kunihiko Morinaga. When exposed to UV light, the robe transformed to have multicoloured triangles inspired by stained glass windows on it, inspired by the UV activated pieces in Anrelage’s AW23 collection.
David Koma is another regular call for Beyoncé’s costume looks. They first worked together on the 2012 Revel Presents: Beyoncé Live tour in New Jersey, when he dressed her and her dancers. The custom look for the Renaissance tour featured a printed bodysuit and matching skirt, paired with an iridescent cropped leather jacket. This look was inspired by Look 26 and 28 in the SS23 collection; it was chosen to pay homage to her uncle Johnny and the 1970s music and culture that he loved and introduced to Beyoncé that then went on to heavily inspire the album.
The look that was most loved by the internet was unquestionably the first of two custom Loewe by Jonathan Anderson looks. The bejewelled bodysuit with cheekily placed hand print designs, featuring black gloves and red nails, was paired with matching gloves. The gloves meant that as onlookers we had to question themselves – where does the suit start and where does Beyonce end? The suggestive outfit was paired with an equally suggestive song, PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA, which she sang while provocatively laying on a circular shell like bed.
The custom Courréges by Nicolas Di Felice on the other hand, was received with varying degrees of appreciation. However, some loved the silver sequinned bodysuit look with a circular mirrored cut out and asymmetric sleeves – one made of black leather, and one with silver sequins affixed with illusion mesh. The AW23 collection that Beyoncé’s look was inspired by (Look 42 and Look 44 in particular) was met with critical acclaim due to Felice’s commentary on society’s obsession with being online instead of in person. This is a sentiment that Beyoncé shares, having always spoken about her wishes for a private life and her worry about shortening attention spans, meaning people only enjoy singles versus the artistry and dedication it takes to make a cohesive album.
Another kindred spirit was the late Thierry Mugler, who styled Beyoncé many times, most known for helping her birth her alter-ego Sasha Fierce on the I Am… world tour, the iconic motorbike bodysuit and the gold corset for the Sweet Dreams music video.
The first Mugler by Casey Cadwallader look for the Renaissance tour was a silver metal robot suit with a matching headpiece. This look was inspired by the Robot Suit in the AW95 couture collection (the same collection that the gold Sweet Dreams corset is from).
The second was a spray painted yellow, black and silver look reminiscent of a bee. The metal bodysuit constructed by Robert Mercier (who also made the corset belt that Beyoncé paired with the Renaissance Couture look she wore to accept her 2023 Brits award) was inspired by the Spring 1997 Couture show. Worn to open the final section of the 3 hour show with AMERICA HAS A PROBLEM, it was a clear homage to her fandom the Beyhive.
For the most dance intensive section of the show, Beyoncé wore a second custom Loewe by Jonathan Anderson outfit. The look featured a silver embellished bodysuit with silver Swarovski crystals appliqué and matching cargo pants. This was the first time Beyoncé has worn trousers on a tour since her third concert tour in 2007: The Beyoncé Experience. The look was paired with a chrome breastplate that is fast becoming a Loewe signature.
The show closed with Beyoncé on a giant silver horse similar to the album cover art floating in the air as the cape flew behind her as she sang SUMMER RENAISSANCE, the final song on the album. This custom Coperni by Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant look featured a silver embroidered bodysuit paired with matching gloves and cathedral length cape featuring laser cut feathers that were hand stitched in India. It was inspired by Look 35 in the AW23 collection, but was by far a more ethereal version that the one presented on the runway.
Now, as all Beyoncé fans will know, she tends to mix and match her costumes, sometimes wearing a look only for a single performance on one night. For her second night in Stockholm she was already seen in two new looks. We can be sure there’ll be a lot more epic fashion moments between now and the tour’s finale date in New Orleans in September.