Beyoncé’s seventh album Renaissance dropped last week, sparking a million-and-one thinkpieces and analyses. We’re no music critics, but we do think the album rollout offers an interesting view into what’s in and what the culture cares about. While the record has been called a celebration of club music and its origins, fashion still manages to worm its way into the lyrics.

In “Heated” she sings “Got a lot of bands/ Got a lot of Chanel on me,” later adding, “Got a lot of style/ Got a lot of Tiffany on me.” Name-dropping luxury labels as a shorthand signifier of wealth and status isn’t anything new, of course — on the album’s closer “Summer Renaissance” she calls out “Versace, Bottega, Prada, Balenciaga, Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy” in quick succession, brands that are now part of our pop culture canon. No matter where in the world you live, you’re likely familiar with those names. If you don’t know who the creative designer is, you understand what they represent: luxury, taste, celebrity, Fashion (yes, italicized and with a capital F).

There’s a visual component to the album, too, and since this is Beyoncé we’re talking about, it’s almost as important as the music itself, but the imagery tells a slightly different story than the songs. The photos offer insight into her own taste, and perhaps more significantly, into what the culture understands as conveying forward-looking style today. The striking ornate chrome bodysuit Beyoncé wears on the cover of the album is not from a luxury label, but is made by the Florida-born and Los Angeles-based artist Nusi Quero. She also enlisted Giannina Azar and Natalia Fedner, a couple of new names for us here at Vogue, to craft the body chains that have become emblematic of this new visual persona.

Red carpet mainstays Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana are in the mix, but so are the emerging star Christopher John Rogers, and the Paris houses of Schiaparelli and Alaïa, which have recently been revived by the creative directors Daniel Roseberry and Pieter Mulier. CJR, Schiap, and Alaia have become shorthand for an “if you know, you know” buzzy new energy; their visual lexicon synonymous with today’s most fashion-forward It-girls and celebrities. Beyoncé has repeatedly worn Schiaparelli since Roseberry’s 2019 debut and has also been seen wearing Christopher John Rogers.

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