Beyoncé and Balmain create a couture collection inspired by Renaissance lyrics
Beyoncé and Balmain's Olivier Rousteing have collaborated on a fashion collection, bringing her Renaissance album "to life in couture".
The idea unknowingly began when Rousteing was away on summer holiday, where he spent all his time creating sketches inspired by Renaissance's 16 tracks, which he had blaring on repeat in his home, office, atelier and holiday home, according to a press release. He said he had no "plan, project, or expectation", he was just luxuriating in the simple pleasure of creating something new and channelling Beyoncé's "glorious, joy-filled art" into his own.
Eventually, Rousteing made the decision to give Beyoncé a call about what he had been working on. And after years of asking the singer to be his muse, he instead asked her to be a co-designer for the very first time. Over the course of five months, Beyoncé, her stylist Marni Senofonte, the Balmain design team, and Rousteing came together to turn the sketches into actual couture creations. In January, Balmain even transported its atelier to the West Coast to work closely alongside Senofonte and Beyoncé on the finishing touches.
Each one-of-a-kind couture piece is directly inspired by a specific Renaissance lyric. The first look, a bustier in hammered metal created by the sculptor Elie Hirsch, is styled with long black leather gloves, a long pareo skirt and matching spiked bracelets. The look was created in homage to the lyrics from 'I'm That Girl': "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 black velvet dress with fluffy pink feathers that appear to explode outwards, encircling the garment, is fittingly called the feu d’artifice (fireworks) dress, and it was inspired by “Paint the town red like cinnamon / Yellow diamonds, limoncello glisterin’ / Rainbow gelato in the streets,” from 'Cozy'. Rousteing wanted each piece to be as infectious and joyful as Beyoncé's lyricism, and he did exactly that.
The collection came as a surprise to everyone. Rousteing said the elimination of a roll-out and marketing plan allowed for this dream environment in which they could just create art. In the press release, the creative director noted: "I can’t help but be thrilled by the history-making aspects of this collaboration. This appears to be the first time that a Black woman has overseen the couture offering from a historic Parisian house. And those designs were created in partnership with the first Black man to ever oversee all the collections at a historic Parisian house. Let’s hope those two firsts help inspire plenty of others."
But fans had actually seen a preview of the collection without realising it. Beyoncé made appearances at both the Brit Awards and the Grammys this year wearing looks from the collaboration – though at the time they were simply credited as being by Balmain.
While many fans have complained about the difficult process of securing tickets to Beyoncé's tour, getting your hands on a Balmain x Beyoncé look will likely be infinitely harder.
See every single look from the Renaissance Couture Collection, below.
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