Beyoncé's Black Is King Is A Spectacle Of Sartorial Symbolism

BY Sonia Sultan / Aug 4 2020 / 08:00 AM

The 'visual album,' which follows the singer-songwriter's 2019 recording with the release of Lion King uses the film's central story as a celebration of Black identity showcasing the world's most dazzling fashion designers

Beyoncé's Black Is King Is A Spectacle Of Sartorial Symbolism

After weeks of tantalizing Insta teasers Beyoncé finally dropped Black Is King, the hotly anticipated film companion to her album The Lion King: The Gift.

No doubt, like us the rest of the Beyhive had it playing on repeat all weekend. The film is an ode to the black experience paying homage to the beauty of black ancestry, culture, traditions, and style. But this is not your average history lesson. Shot against a variety of international landscapes, featuring collaborations with the likes of Childish Gambino and Pharrell, family members including Jay-Z and Blue Ivy, and cameos by Lupita Nyong’o and Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé’s self-written, directed, and produced film is Afrofuturism at its finest.

As one would expect, this lesson in the African diaspora is a stunning sartorial symphony. Beyoncé and her longtime stylist Zerina Akers curated looks which showcase global talent from both emerging and established designers – Arab designers included. Looks range from the delicate femininity of billowy Erdem dresses to West African designer Loza Malèombho’s monochrome structured jacket. From the way the clothes drape over her ethereal curves to the intentionality of her long cornrows, Beyoncé succeeds in reminding us that culture-rooted creativity is her legacy.

Here is a glimpse of the spectacular style in Black is King.

Valentino

Setting the stylistic bar in all the promo pictures, this custom Valentino Haute Couture leopard-print sequin jumpsuit, paired with Louboutin heels and A-Morir rhinestone shades was the sensory overload we didn’t know we needed.

Timothy White

Throughout the filmher braids took centerstage - as featured in this iconic look. Draped in a custom Timothy White black tulle gown, Beyoncé’s structured braids piled high pay homage to both Egyptian queen Nefertiti and to the hairstyle worn by Mangbetu women.

Burberry

Riccardo Tisci changes the narrative completely from the vintage Burberry check jumpsuit and thigh highs which Beyoncé rocked at a New Jersey concert in 2018. Tisci’s bold cow print from the Spring 2019 line resurfaces in the form of a corset top and a miniskirt ensemble. Sitting atop a horse to match, sparkly Louboutin’s dangling delicately from her feet, and proudly wearing a Rram horn headdress, Beyoncé is pure fashion fantasy.

Loza Malèombho

Ivorian designer Loza Malèombhos’ eponymous label “...has always stood for an image of African royalty...” of which Beyoncé is the embodiment. She is a regal vision in a custom structured monochrome jacket with gold accents.

Ashi Studio

Saudi couturier Mohammad Ashi created an extravagant bird feather bodice for Beyoncé who previously donned the memorable Ashi Studio custom-made fuchsia gown back in 2018. The brand revealed that “...this elaborate hand-made embroidered piece took 70 hours of work...” as each feather was placed one by one.

5:31 Jèrôme

Born and raised in The Bronx, Jerome Lamaar’s brand fuses his love for embellishments, maximalism, and streetwear – all of which beautifully culminate in the jewel green structured Nigerian lace trench/dress hybrid.

Erdem

Erdem’s history-steeped Fall 2019 line was inspired by the life of Princess Donna Orietta Doria-Pamphilj-Landi, who sensationally tore the paintings off the walls of her Roman palazzo and wore them as kilts, and sewed her jewels into her clothes to escape Mussolini’s Italy. The weight of carrying her heritage wherever she went ties in poetically with the Black is King narrative, so it’s no wonder that one of the decadently tiered silk gowns from the collection features prominently in the tea party scene.

Marine Serre

No stranger to catsuits, Beyoncé has been a fan of the upcycling-driven French brand for a while. The Parisian designer’s signature sporty crescent moon printed pieces fit Beyoncé and her dance troupe like a second skin, leaving us as mesmerized as longtime Beyoncé fan girl Adele who took to her Instagram dressed in the same print to say “Thank you, Queen, for always making us all feel so loved through your art.”

Mansoori

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❤️ @beyonce #BlackIsKing

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To hold her own next to legendary supermodel Naomi Campbell, Beyoncé chose Bahraini designer Shaima Al Mansoori. It took 81 hours to drape and craft her glamourous plum coloured ballgown with Monsoori’s signature ruffles and frills.

Lead image courtesy of Instagram/beyonce