Brace yourself: Beyoncé’s Black Is King has landed and, as well as being a powerful and celebratory ode to the Black experience, it’s a full-throttle showcase of the world’s most dazzling fashion designers.
Filmed and produced over a year in various landscapes, the landmark visual album features numerous collaborators – including African artists Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Shatta Wale, Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Tekno, Yemi Alade, Busiswa and Salatiel; musical powerhouses Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar and Pharrell; family members including Jay-Z, Blue Ivy Carter, Tina Knowles-Lawson and Destiny’s Child bandmate Kelly Rowland; and inspiring women, such as Lupita Nyong’o and Naomi Campbell.
Styled by Zerina Akers – the curator and founder of the Black-founded business platform, Black Owned Everything – Bey and her team of Black kings and queens showcase the industry’s emerging and established talent.
From instantly-identifiable pieces from household name brands, such as Burberry and Valentino, to the exquisite work of African craftspeople, such as Ivorian cowrie shell artist Lafalaise Dion, here’s just a glimpse of the energising, inclusive and spectacular style in Black Is King.
Beyoncé was the first star to wear Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry during her On the Run II world tour in the summer of 2018, so it’s only natural that the friends should collaborate on another custom look for her latest career milestone. Gone were the vintage Burberry checks which Tisci had reappropriated into a Bey-worthy bodysuit and thigh-highs for her New Jersey concert. In their place? A bold cow print done the Burberry way, on a classic trench, mini skirt, corset top and faux-leather boots. Expect the luxe take on the farmyard motif to overtake leopard as fashion’s favourite animal print.
Try to watch Bey and her dance troupe throwing shapes in Marine Serre bodysuits without being mesmerised. Impossible! The Paris designer’s signature sporty crescent moon-printed pieces are created to feel like a second skin. Mission accomplished, according to Beyoncé, who looks jaw-droppingly beautiful in the futuristic mocha-coloured version.
© Disney, Black Is King
Erdem Moralıoğlu’s history-steeped autumn/winter 2019 collection, which was inspired by the unusual life of Princess Donna Orietta Doria-Pamphilj-Landi, makes a splash during a garden party scene. Bey, tea cup in hand, wears a fabulously decadent tiered silk gown that positively blooms with red, pink and purple flora.
© Instagram: @Erdem
Of course Molly Goddard’s zingy, frothy tulle had to make an appearance (Rihanna is also a fan of her drama-creating dresses). The London designer’s hot-pink Daria gown, with voluminous silhouette and 100m tulle hem, features in the song “Water” starring Salatiel and Pharell. But fashion fans will recognise it from the Met Costume Institute’s Camp: Notes On Fashion exhibition. Model muse Edie Campbell also took Goddard’s biggest gown ever for a turn at the 2019 Met Gala.
© Disney, Black Is King
If you’re a Beyoncé fan then this leopard-print sequin look used in the Black Is King promo pictures will be ingrained in your psyche by now. The Valentino Haute Couture confection and statement A-morir sunglasses set the tone for the rest of the fashion in the video. One word: dazzling.
© Photography Travis Matthews, courtesy Parkwood Entertainment
Lafalaise Dion’s beautiful cowries come with a lesson in African spirituality. From the curved back, which symbolises the child growing within a pregnant woman’s stomach, to the mysterious and powerful origins of the shell, read the brand’s explanation of the striking headwear after watching the dancers model them to striking effect in Black Is King.
© Instagram: @lafalaisedionn
“I am so beyond grateful to have my outfit included in such a powerful film with such an important message,” London-based lingerie designer and artist Michaela Stark said of her brand’s spotlight in Black Is King. Stark, whose delicate underwear showcases and celebrates bodily imperfections, previously hand-crafted pieces for Beyoncé’s 2018 video “Apesh*t”.
© Instagram: @Michaela Stark
Legendary French designer Thierry Mugler has enjoyed a resurgence of late owing to the Kardashian-Jenner clan’s penchant for wearing his archive pieces. The couturier has dressed Beyoncé (as well as David Bowie and Lady Gaga) in his signature sculptural, form-fitting pieces before, so obviously the queen of pop had to show her sway over the world’s top couturiers and commission something special for Black Is King. Later in the video, Blue Ivy wears her own bespoke iteration of the Mugler rainbow dress and leggings. Double snap.
© Instagram: @Mugler
Area designers Beckett Fogg and Piotrek Panszczyk’s spage-age glamour twinkles its way into Black Is King. Dripping in fringed crystals, Bey looks positively angelic in one of the New York brand’s chain looks.
© Black Is King
Mary Katrantzou’s rainbow-coloured, ruffled autumn/winter 2019 collection explored the elements: earth, air, fire and water – which seems apt considering the global scale of Black Is King. In their simplest forms, the undulating frilly and feathered dresses show high fashion at its most romantic.
© Disney, Black Is King, Andrew White
Alon Livné’s striking white gown instantly made an impact when the Black Is King trailer dropped. Bey, who accents the sculptural silhouette here with a Laurel DeWitt headpiece, has commissioned the Tel Aviv Fashion Week star before to make visually impactful fashion championing inclusivity at its core.
© Black Is King