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Beyoncé added one epic cape and a number of iconic looks to her wardrobe with her Coachella-headlining set on Saturday night (April 14), and the designer behind them, Olivier Rousteing, worked directly with his muse to make sure they were exactly what she — and the music — needed.
Rousteing is known for OTT, bedazzled garments, which have been worn onstage and off by Kim Kardashian, Frank Ocean and more. In an interview with Vogue, Rousteing opened up about working with Beyoncé — or “B,” as he calls her — and attending rehearsals to make sure the outfits were fitting correctly for Beyoncé and the hundred-plus dancers and musicians who joined her for the performance that paid tribute to HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities), their halftime shows and step dances.
During the performance, she evoked the Egyptian queen Nefertiti in a dramatic cape and head wrap, wore an athletic jersey with a crest depicting Black Power motifs including an outstretched fist, and a gold-and-black T-shirt with Greek lettering (Beyonce Alpha Knowles), inviting the world to pledge her sorority. (Fans on social media pointed out that the black and gold color scheme of the costumes also nods to Alpha Phi Alpha, the first black fraternity.)
“B is a perfectionist,” Rousteing told Vogue. “She has such a distinct vision for fashion and for her music, I really learned a lot from this experience and from watching her work in those rehearsals … If I am being totally transparent, it is very, very rare in this kind of process to have so much communication with the artist and the ones closest to her on her team. I was able to be in the room with her and she would give me direct feedback about how the lighting should hit the clothes, what the music had to emphasize about each look — I never had to guess what to do next.”
He added that he and Beyoncé worked more intimately than during their previous collaborations. (Rousteing also designed the costumes for the star’s 2016’s Formation World Tour.)
Both Jay-Z — who joined Beyoncé onstage to perform their duet, “Deja Vu” — and their daughter, Blue Ivy, checked out the Coachella clothes throughout the design process as well.
“I think the thing I will always remember is sitting on the floor with B and cutting fabric,” he continued. “Blue comes in and runs over to B, and B holds her in her arms while talking to us about the cuts and silhouettes. To me, it was just such a beautiful moment because here you are with this megastar but also, she is a strong woman and a loving momma to her daughter… 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.”
A version of this article first appeared on Billboard.com.
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