29 mar 2023

Why is Renaissance Couture by Beyoncé x Balmain a historic collection?

Thanks to both its aesthetic and significant power, the Renaissance Couture collection co-designed by Beyoncé and the artistic director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, is exceptional. It also marks a turning point in the history of fashion.

Renaissance Couture by Beyoncé x Balmain, a historic collection


The first quarter of 2023 is not over yet, and Beyoncé has already accomplished two artistic feats. On February 5th, 2023, in Los Angeles, Beyoncé made history when she won four Grammy Awards out of nine nominations, becoming the most awarded artist of the ceremony created in 1958 with 32 awards total. During that evening, the music superstar caused a stir in a Balmain custom-made creation – a corolla dress in dusty pink velvet with a smooth metallic low-cut neckline, created by the sculptor Elie Hirsch, and accessorized with a hammered metal hat inspired by a vintage piece.


Co-designed by Olivier Rousteing, Balmain’s artistic director since 2011, and Beyoncé, this stunning dress – just like the look she wore at the Brit Awards in London a few days later – is one of 14 silhouettes of the Renaissance Couture collection, which marks a turning point in the history of fashion. For the first time, a music star has collaborated with a fashion house on a couture collection.


But that’s not all, as Olivier Rousteing points out: “This appears to be the first time that a Black woman has overseen the couture offering from an historic Parisian house. 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. Besides, I am sure that once in the house’s archives, these Renaissance Couture Collection designs are destined to inspire generations of future Balmain designers.”


The Renaissance Couture collection by Beyoncé x Balmain, through the lens of Olivier Rousteing


The Renaissance Couture collection by Beyoncé x Balmain was unveiled on March 24th, 2023, along with open-heart letter from Olivier Rousteing on the genesis of this extraordinary project inspired by the singer’s seventh studio album, Renaissance, released on July 29th, 2022: “When Beyoncé first released these 16 extraordinary songs, she mentioned that she hoped they would inspire us all to let go. In fact, she managed to push me to do much more than that. By the time the school year started – those late summer days when French holidaymakers return to the real world – I had emotionally sketched out 50 new silhouettes vibrating to the rhythm, energy, and voices of Renaissance,” he says. “Obviously, having worked with Beyoncé on so many memorable occasions, I already knew her preferences regarding colors, cuts, fabrics, and accessories. I was able to seamlessly incorporate them into these early sketches without thinking. But when I made the decision to call her and share these very early concepts with her, well… what I was hoping to talk about wasn’t just another set of red carpet or concert stage looks. This time, I wasn’t just asking her to be my muse. My hope was that she would be up for something new: a real, authentic collaboration between two designers who are both obsessed with taking their art to the next level. I wanted us to be co-designers,” he explains.


A couture collection that fuses Balmain’s heritage with Beyoncé’s flamboyant aesthetic


Beyoncé and Olivier Rousteing, long-time friends and collaborators, along with the singer’s stylist Marni Senofonte and Balmain’s creative teams, spent five months between September 2022 and January 2023 bringing the collection to life from the 50 sketches drawn by the French designer. Like the dress worn by Beyoncé at the Grammy Awards, the 14 silhouettes of Renaissance Couture, each inspired by a track on the album, merge Balmain’s new French style with the American superstar’s unique and flamboyant aesthetic, highlighted by the skills of exceptional craftsmen.


The famous dress entitled Virgo’s Groove, the 9th song on the album inspired by Beyoncé’s astrological sign, which happens to be Olivier Rousting’s sign too, offers a mermaid-style silhouette with sleek, sexy sculptural lines. Becoming a hit few hours after its release in June 2022, the anthem Break My Soul becomes a powerful and dramatic hooded draped dress in shiny black velvet paired with a sparkling 3D-printed bustier that creates the illusion of a bare torso. The unelivable I’m That Girl look features an impressive, hammered metal bustier by sculptor Elie Hirsch with matching bracelets, paired with a pareo skirt and black nappa lamb leather gloves, to celebrate the strong, committed woman that Beyoncé is. The Thique look, a black velvet bodysuit and turban, is a true work of art. It features a stunning hammered brass Parisian chandelier designed by the French craftsmen from Le Chemin des Maquettes.


A few months after his sensational couture collection for Jean Paul Gaultier, Olivier Rousteing is once again pushing the boundaries of his art. With this Renaissance Couture collection by Beyoncé x Balmain, Olivier Rousteing not only makes a statement about his great talent, but also about his iconoclastic vision as a designer.


Find out more about the Renaissance Couture collection by Beyoncé x Balmain on Balmain.com