When you think of queens with long, historic reigns, Victoria, Elizabeth, and… BEYONCÉ come to mind. With due respect to actual queens, no one has ruled so definitively in the pop culture world as Queen Bey.
The birth of Bey as we know her can be traced back to 2003 with the release of her solo album, Crazy In Love (buh-bye, Destiny’s Child). It was non-stop from there as she hit No. 1 again and again with albums like B’Day (2006); I Am… Sasha Fierce (2008); and 4 (2011). She made streaming her bitch with the albums Beyonce (2013), Lemonade (2016) and Everything Is Love (her surprise 2018 joint album with hubby Jay-Z Carter). Glastonbury and Coachella fell to her feet (#BeyChella, was a real thing), and Beyonce dominated the Grammys with breathtaking aplomb.
Through the years, Beyoncé has become a figure to look for when it comes to bona fide fashion, on the red carpet and in her music videos. Those vids have been culture-altering moments, and the fashion has been mouth-wateringly good.
‘Yoncé’s Instaglam (sic) moments also show she’s a mama who is aware of her own power who’s adroitly made the world her playground.
To celebrate her 37th birthday, we look back on 10 memorable fashion moments that Queen Bey has had recently. Note that she has increasingly drawn on goddess imagery and normally, we don’t like self-aggrandizement but in Beyoncé’s case, we approve the rise of queen to deity. We look forward to more to come so we can worship at her alter.
“Apeshit” Music Video, 2018
Shot in the iconic Louvre, the luxurious centre of European art, we see Beyoncé in a striking, head-to-toe Versace look. Her pose and manner is an homage to the Portrait d’une femme noir (“Portrait of a Negress”) by Marie-Guillemine Benoist (1800), a significant piece of art in a time of colonialism and slavery.
In this entire video, ‘Yoncé uses herself as an object, inviting the viewer to think on racial and cultural supremacy, and on barriers and how they can be broken.
The music video is striking for another look — Beyoncé’s pink Peter Pilotto suit (Jay-Z is in Dries van Noten).
This is Bey and Jay’s narrative and, standing in front of the Mona Lisa, a pale figure in the highly vaunted museum that (like many others) has not placed an emphasis on people of colour, this husband-and-wife powerhouse clad in contrasting tones are suddenly the most interesting things in the room.
Beyoncé made cultural and political history as the first black woman to headline the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in April 2018. She quoted Malcolm X, hosted a Destiny’s Child reunion, and sang Lift Every Voice And Sing (aka the ‘Black national anthem’).
As befitting of such an event, she appeared in a total of five outfits, custom collaborations between her stylist Marni Senofonte and Balmain‘s creative director, Olivier Rousteing.
The embellished bodysuit with a gold and black studded cape was topped off with stunning waterfall earrings, a stylish reinvented top hat and gold and black cane — all a reference to Egyptian queen Nefertiti.
She may have turned up late for the Grammys, arriving mid-show (hey, she practically owns the awards, so what does she care) — but she sure made a grand entrance in this gown with double leg slits by Nicolas Jebran.
Accessories were Alain Mikli sunglasses, a giant saucer hat, and Lorraine Schwartz earrings. The whole effect was witchy, weird and wonderful.
Black is definitely Beyoncé’s to go colour — and so is sheer. She killed it in this delicately embellished sheer black dress by Gattinoni that she wore to make her entrance at the star-studded Tidal X 1015 benefit concert.