Kristen Rogers, CNN
(CNN) — It’s not the diamonds or the pearls that make Beyoncé that girl, but fashion is a critical part of what’s made her Renaissance World Tour unforgettable.
In celebration of her seventh album of the same name, Beyoncé’s first solo tour in seven years featured a wardrobe fit for a queen. With many of the looks switching out from venue to venue — and some specific to particular cities on the tour — it also moonlighted as a traveling fashion show, keeping fans on their toes for whatever Beyoncé and her team of stylists had up their sleeves (or opera gloves) next.
This “Renaissance” era in Beyoncé’s music is about unbridled joy, self-empowerment, freedom in love, movement and identity — be it racial, sexual or gender — and the expression of these journeys through disco and futurism.
“Creating this album allowed me a place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world,” Beyoncé wrote on Instagram in 2022. “My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom.”
This message — and the creation of community, with attendees sporting their own “Renaissance couture” to fit the tour’s theme — translated sartorially, too.
When developing the tour wardrobe, “Beyoncé and her team talked about a sci-fi disco, like a gigantic party in another galaxy or space,” said fashion designer Iris van Herpen, who created one look for the tour. “I love designing with the concepts of sci-fi as it gives creative freedom to travel time and space. For me, during her Renaissance tour she is Queen B Beyond, a timeless queen that moves in a dazzling constellation.”
“This ethereal and futurist femininity complements and extends her other looks in the tour that beautifully highlight other aspects of feminine empowerment,” van Herpen added.
Designer David Koma was “particularly excited to receive the call for the world tour because I knew it would be an incredible performance,” he said, calling the tour “an iconic pop culture moment I would be so proud to be a part of.”
“It feels like (a) once in a lifetime experience that every attendee will remember forever,” Koma, who has collaborated with Beyoncé for over a decade, told CNN via email.
Here are some of the best Renaissance tour looks, which fans will be able to see even more of upon the release of “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” in theaters December 1.
‘It should cost a billion to look this good’
For the tour’s opening night in Stockholm, Beyoncé stepped into her “House of Chrome” wearing a custom Alexander McQueen bodysuit featuring thousands of silver bugle beads and crystals hand-embroidered on a black tulle base.
For the final stop of the tour in Kansas City, Missouri, meanwhile, she opened the show in a bustier dress embroidered with thousands of rhinestones, paired with black opera gloves.
André Courrèges was one of the instrumental designers of space-inspired, intergalactic fashion of the ‘60s, and critical in defining the “retro-futurism” aesthetic. Fittingly, Beyoncé wore a custom silver Courrèges leotard with cutouts for several performances of “Alien Superstar.”
She opened the first of three London tour stops in a custom full-body cobalt blue gown from the London-based designer Roksanda Ilincic, similar to pieces from Ilincic’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection.
One of the most iconic looks of the tour was a custom gold Loewe bodysuit with hand motifs from the house’s Fall-Winter 2022 runway, which appear like an illusion in tandem with Beyoncé and her backing dancers’ movements.
In collaboration with tour stylist Shiona Turini, Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson designed a series of looks “inspired by the escapist joy” of “Renaissance,” playing on sculptural forms and body illusion and blending “futuristic concepts with theatrical, disco-era aesthetics,” according to Loewe’s website.
In Amsterdam, Beyoncé wore a custom black corseted Gucci leotard with strands of crystals crisscrossing the bodice, atop sheer mesh with rhinestone detailing. She paired the look with a wide-brimmed, metallic silver hat — and a pair of ornate sunglasses.
The custom Mugler bee outfit Beyoncé often wore while performing “America Has a Problem” referenced the house’s Spring-Summer 1997 “Les Insects” collection. Designed by Mugler creative director Casey Cadwallader and styled by Turini, the look pays homage to Beyoncé’s “queen bee” persona while also contributing to the otherworldly feel of much of the tour’s fashions.
In LA, Beyoncé wore another intricate Mugler piece: a strappy silver bodysuit designed by Cadwallader and styled by Turini.
As Beyoncé floated around the arena during the encore performance, “Summer Renaissance,” at her premiere show, so did her custom Coperni ensemble, which was inspired by a look from the brand’s Fall-Winter 2023 collection.
“She wore an embroidered cape, bodysuit and gloves,” Coperni said on Instagram. The outfit, created from silver laser-cut feathers, required hundreds of hours of hand stitching.
In New York City, the singer opened the “Renaissance” act of the show in a custom Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini “bodysuit featuring a sculpted bullet bra adorned with a dazzling decoration of degradè Swarovski crystals,” according to the brand’s Instagram. She accessorized with thigh-high silver boots and an apricot eco-kidassia coat.
For her June 18 Amsterdam show, Beyoncé’s own work was among that of Black designers showcased to celebrate Juneteenth. She donned pieces from her Ivy Park fashion line.
“I was so engulfed in all things RENAISSANCE and was inspired by Studio 54, Bob Mackie and the disco era,” the star said in an Instagram post. “I wanted to do a modern twist using the signature IVY PARK neon and bring disco to the beach in this swim collection.”
In Kansas City, she also wore an all-black version of the Ivy Park design.
This custom Iris van Herpen look “was a complex combination of high-tech and craftsmanship. A total of 980 falcate-shapes were 3D constructed by casting silver-marbled silicone into mirrored laser-cut outlines,” van Herpen told CNN. “I designed this look to bring a futuristic softness and otherworldliness to her powerful performance. I wanted her look to be an intense and hypnotizing experience on stage.”
Styled by tour stylist K.J. Moody, this custom David Koma “mother of pearl” print mesh bodysuit and asymmetric skirt was paired with iridescent embossed knee-high cowboy boots.
“I wanted to create a memorable and striking look but with comfort and movement as a priority,” Koma said. “We created pieces that were visually delicate but also durable — something that can be worn for multiple nights of the tour.”
Koma felt like part of his inspiration for the print — Dr. Sylvia Earle, a trailblazing marine biologist — “subconsciously resonated with Beyoncé and the empowerment nature of her music and the tour,” he added.
Beyoncé opened her Chicago show in a custom Schiaparelli minidress designed by Daniel Roseberry and made of black silk faille, with “a floor-length stole covered in hand-embroidered silver stones and leaf feathers,” according to Schiaparelli.
For a California tour date, Beyoncé wore a pink Gucci bustier look with pleated detailing accentuated by crystal embellishments. The look featured bedazzled black velvet opera gloves, matching boots — and binoculars (not pictured).
The camo Ivy Park looks worn for several shows served well the soldier-like arc of the set list, during which Beyoncé and her dancers performed songs including “Formation,” “Diva,” “Run the World (Girls)” and “Black Parade,” a song the singer released to mark Juneteenth in 2020.
Also paired with a pair of thigh-high camo boots, this custom casual jersey look is from Ivy Park’s “Park Trail” collection. With colors that appear to salute Beyoncé’s sister Solange and the Lakers NBA team — “Sol Ange” (solar orange) and “Lake-Her” (legacy indigo), respectively — the collection “is inspired by the resilience of the outdoors, the spirit of the streets, and the possibilities of the future,” according to Adidas.
This full-body Richard Quinn bodysuit featured a peplum-style bodice and a sculptural, dome-like hat that obscured everything except for Beyoncé’s eyes, with large rhinestone details throughout.
For an opening look during a tour date in Atlanta, Beyoncé wore a neon green gown from Indian designer Gaurav Gupta’s “Hiranyagarbha” collection, presented at Paris Haute Couture Week in July.
“She shines in ethereal electricity, chiffon drapes of Athena with orbiting satin sculpting,” Gupta said on Instagram.
For a show in Warsaw, she stunned in a custom Elie Saab haute couture gown styled by Karen Langley and Tara Greville.
And for her Minneapolis show, Beyoncé hit the stage wearing head-to-toe custom Acne Studios, including metallic pink shorts and a bustier, oversized coat and sparkling thigh-high boots.
This custom Balmain look by Olivier Rousteing was one of many silver ensembles Beyoncé donned during the tour. It featured sequins, a dramatic clam shell-like bodice and a hip-level slit. The star released a Renaissance couture collection with the label in March; each look translating a song from the album into fashion.
For the assertive soldier-themed arc of another show, Beyoncé donned a black patent and fishnet look by Peter Dundas, also styled by Moody.
This custom Off-White look, featured on the poster of Beyoncé’s upcoming film, included a bustier-style bodysuit encrusted in 40,000 red hotfix crystals designed by Ibrahim Kamara, the label’s art and image director.
A second all-red Off-White look featured a top hat, bomber jacket and shorter silhouette.
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