The Whirlwind Story Behind Beyonce's Super Bowl Look
New York designer Rubin Singer says his team of 14 put in 200 manhours on the outfit.
Thierry Mugler? Givenchy couture? That’s what we suspected watching Beyonce's kick-ass leather and lace corset and boots outfit (or was it just leather lace?) at the Super Bowl halftime show. But no. It's in fact the work of New York designer Rubin Singer, who'll be showing his fall 2013 collection in New York next week.
Singer is no stranger to the world of fashion, but designing the costumes for a style icon like Beyonce to perform at one of the year’s most widely viewed sporting events was a completely different situation for him.
Singer has worked with the singer, songwriter, and actress over the years, and presented storyboards from his fall 2013 collection to Beyonce's stylists Raquel Smith and Ty Hunter right after Thanksgiving. The concept perfectly captured the diva's vision for her Super Bowl XLVII performance.
After he received the assignment, Knowles and Singer set forth on an accelerated collaborative process in early December. The next two months involved no less than five fittings and well over 200 man hours, with a team of 14 dedicated to creating the final look at the designer’s New York City atelier. One full week leading up to the event in daily dress rehearsals at the New Orleans Superdome was also required to make sure everything was perfect for the big night.
The stage costumes are based on Singer’s upcoming fall 2013 collection entitled "Valkyrie’s Dominion." In Norse mythology, a Valkyrie is a female figure who decides which soldiers die in battle and which live. Other points of inspiration come from the striking images of late 70s/early 80s Helmut Newton and the play on masculine/feminine associated with 1930s film actress Marlene Dietrich.
The performance’s opening look, set to the hit song “Crazy in Love,” consisted of two pieces: a black leather cropped motorcycle jacket with exaggerated shoulders and an asymmetrical collar with dramatic “winged” cuffs were paired with a micro-mini asymmetrical wrap skirt in “liquid nylon” (made of nylon, metal, silk and plastic) that Singer exclusively created.
Later in the performance, after removing the motorcycle jacket, Knowles wore a black leather bodysuit reminiscent of warrior armor. Strips of engineered python, paneled iguana and trapunto-pick stitched leather were sewn together in contrast to the flounce skirt and insets of delicate black Chantilly lace in areas where skin can be seen. This item proved to be incredibly challenging, as it not only needed to be dramatic, but also had to withstand the rigorous dance moves required for the performance.
“This piece is truly couture in every way,” said Singer, describing the process. “My seamstresses were assembling all of the leather and exotic skins individually by hand. All of the pieces were separate details that were all constructed on her body. We had to make the bodysuit have a tremendous range of motion and flexibility. Beyonce is such a fierce and intense performer, we could not have the outfit constrict her in any way.”
In addition to Beyonce’s costumes, Singer created the costume for former Destiny’s Child bandmate Michelle Williams, as well as the jackets for the show’s 120 backup dancers.
Singer will present his fall/winter 2013 collection at his atelier during New York City’s Fashion Week from February 12-13 by appointment only.