Beyoncé & Balmain debut couture looks inspired by ‘Renaissance’ tracks

Album art from Renaissance
Album art from Renaissance Photo: Columbia Records

Ten years after introducing the “visual album” to the world, Beyoncé debuted a whole new concept: album couture. The pop star has teamed up with legendary French fashion house Balmain for a collection of couture looks based on tracks from her most recent album, Renaissance.

Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing unveiled the collection today on Instagram, along with a preview of Beyoncé’s upcoming Vogue France cover.

“Our Renaissance Couture is out,” Rousteing wrote. “More than Fashion, More than music it’s when we can combine both ARTS. RENAISSANCE IS INSPIRATION FOR LIFE. Creating with you @beyonce is an important chapter of my life. You made me believe in me and pushing bounderies like noone else [sic].”

The French designer told that the collaboration began to take shape as he listened to Renaissance last summer.

“I was sketching and sketching as I listened, and sometimes you can’t control the emotion of your sketch,” he said. “And I started to imagine the sketches inside her album, how they would relate to the songs and the lyrics—it wasn’t something I was supposed to be doing, but I was just inspired by the music to do it. And that’s how this started.”

Rousteing reached out to Beyoncé and her stylist Marni Senofonte, and the trio spent the last five months turning his sketches into 17 looks that each correspond to a song on the album. The “Break My Soul” singer has already worn the “Virgo’s Groove” and “Pure/Honey” inspired looks at this year’s Grammys and BRIT Awards, and appears on the April cover of Vogue France in the “Heated” ensemble.

Renaissance, Beyoncé’s seventh studio album, was inspired by house music and Black LGBTQ+ culture, as well as by her late gay uncle. The album earned the singer wins for Best Dance Recording, Best Dance/Electronica Album, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance, and Best R&B Song at this year’s Grammy Awards, bringing her career total to 32 wins and making her the artist with the most Grammys wins ever. Her win for Best Dance/Electronica Album for Renaissance also made her the first Black woman to win in that category.

According to Rousteing, the Beyoncé X Balmain collab made history as well. “This appears to be the first time that a Black woman has overseen the couture offering from an historic Parisian house,” the out designer said. “And those designs were created in partnership with the first Black man to ever oversee all the collections at an historic Parisian house. Let’s hope those two firsts help inspire plenty of others.”

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