Every project touched by Beyoncé has layers.
Beyoncé’s first visual album “Lemonade” shone a light on black womanhood and the historical impact of slavery. She performed a Black Panthers homage during the 2016 Super Bowl Half Time Show. Her groundbreaking 2018 Coachella performance as the festival’s first black female headliner was an ode to black colleges and universities. And now the 24-time Grammy Award-winner’s latest project “Black Is King” serves as a celebration of African tradition and empowerment during a time when the Black Lives Matter movement sweeps across the world.
As a film by Beyoncé, an artist who has amplified expressions of black culture to the masses through music and visual storytelling, the influence of “Black Is King” stands to linger over fashion for the next several seasons.
A new report by retail market intelligence company Edited dives into those influences. While many of over-the-top sartorial moments in the film were provided by established luxury brands like Balmain and Valentino, Edited noted that several knock-out looks were from independent Black designers curated by stylist Zerina Akers. And with more than 100 different looks packed into the film, “Black Is King” serves as a Black designer showcase that highlights the well of creativity and talent that continues to be overlooked by the fashion industry.
The film includes bodysuits by S.Garvey and D.Bleu.Dazzled, money-print pajamas by New Yorker designer Ducki Confetti (which promptly sold out) and exaggerated designs from Selam Fessahaye, a Swedish-Eritrean costume designer and Melissa Simon-Hartman a London-based designer of Trinidadian and Ghanaian heritage.
Black designers were also responsible for some of the major accessory moments in the movie, Edited reported. Lafalaise Dion created the jewelry and headpieces adorned with cowry shells while L’Enchanteur lent its expertise the oversized gold jewelry.
In short, the film, which is brought to life with a diverse cast of all shapes and sizes, is an example of the type of inclusive fashion show the industry needs when catwalks eventually resume.
While the film is helping raise the profile of these designers, it is also sparking fall fashion trends. Here’s a closer look at the themes Edited expects to blossom from the film.
Naturally, costumes for a film inspired by The Lion King requires a menagerie of animal prints, and “Black Is King” includes the breadth of the animal kingdom.
Though leopard print is a women’s wear mainstay, Beyoncé upped the ante in a sparkling bodysuit by Valentino. Meanwhile, an ensemble by Burberry reconfirmed the style story that designers like Michael Kors and Zadig & Voltaire told on their F/W 20-21 runways: cow print is the new animal print to watch.
Animal is a key pattern, Edited noted, in pre-Spring ’21 collections, with Rag & Bone choosing leopard, Versace featuring snakeskin, tiger at Ermanno Scervino and giraffe at Salvatore Ferragamo.
Bodysuits and shapewear have been on the upswing since 2019 with basic colorways driving sell-outs, however, the styles worn by Beyoncé in “Black Is King” make a strong case for more decadent styling. Glittery, textured and printed catsuits are featured heavily in the film.
And one brand in particular is reaping the benefits of Queen B’s seal of approval. Marine Serre’s crescent moon bodysuit worn by Beyoncé and a crew of backup dancers in the film (and by Beyoncé in real life) has achieved cult status, adding another layer of success onto the already-viral category, Edited noted.
Other statement-making F/W 20-21 runway trends enhance the film’s grandiose aesthetic. Voluminous gowns by Mary Katrantzou and Molly Goddard make a bold impact in vibrant magenta hues and multi-color layers of ruffles. The supersized frocks are paired with large earrings, fringe headpieces, turbans and wide-brim hats.
This ultra-feminine theme, Edited reported, has been one of the most commercially adapted looks from the runway and continues to feed into the mass market.
Color also plays a key role in the film’s storytelling. Shocks of pink and red combinations, turquoise and primary colors are featured, especially yellow. “This hue is representative of Oshun the Yoruba goddess of love and beauty who features in Beyoncé’s previous work,” Edited stated.