A superstar who conjures highly stage-managed social media moments from date nights with her husband was never going to go quietly onto the stage of one of the world’s biggest music festivals.
After delaying her Coachella appearence for a year due to her pregnancy, Beyoncé and her team collaborated with Olivier Rousteing, creative director of French fashion house Balmain, on five bespoke looks, each imbued with nods to a new crest for the singer, bearing symbols of black power.
The centrepiece outfit of the quintet was a head dress, body suit and cape inspired by Queen Nefertiti and embellished with thousands of black and gold sequins. The head of the Egyptian Queen, wife of the pharoah Akhenaten, was embroidered onto the back of the cape while the front of the bodysuit was bejewelled with crystals. The tall, round hat decorated with a black feather reflected that seen on the famous bust of Nefertiti, which was discovered in 1912 and has since become an icon of beauty and femininity.
“Jay saw the Egyptian goddess cape and when B put it on, his eyes went wide and he was so excited, he said, ‘Oh, wow!’ That gave me a lot of satisfaction,” Rousteing told Vogue. He also said that Beyoncé had been closely involved with the creation of her Coachella looks. He posted an image on Instagram of the singer sat inspecting several pieces laid out on the floor during the design process.
Rouesting explained that Beyoncé and her stylist, Marni Senofonte chose Balmain thanks to the strong military look of the label’s autumn/ winter collection, working with him to create custom versions which would be unique to the singer,her stage requirements and she messages she was to integrate.
Elsewhere in the performance, Beyoncé wore a black latex suit with thigh-high boots, a sequinned bodysuit for her reunion with Destiny’s Child and a monogrammed yellow sweatshirt, denim shorts and iridescent tinsel boots.
Another look comprised a string t-shirt bearing her new crest on the front. Showing the Egyptian Queen bust, a bee, a black panther and a black fist, each in one quarter of the crest with the ancient of eye of Horus symbol above, the crest was a powerful message of the singer’s ongoing support for the black rights movement.
She also began the performance by singing ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ which is referred to as the Black American national anthem. Beyoncé and Jay-Z have been major supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, donating millions to the anti-racism campaign.
Beyoncé’s meticulously strategised approach to every aspect of her public life means that she is no stranger to the power of the stage look. Most memorably perhaps, she used her performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2011 to reveal her pregnancy, unbuttoning her Dolce and Gabbana jacket to reveal a small bump.
She will perform at Coachella again next weekend, wearing a second set of Balmain creations.