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On July 14th 2017, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter became a fashion blogger.
After extensive stalking research, I believe it all began with this picture, first posted after that announcement of the twins’ birth.
After this post, we begin to see a clear record of a style evolution. Not only is everything more fashion, the outfits get braver and more adventurous with each post.
And it just keeps going, all the way up to the 2018 Grammy weekend looks reportedly inspired by Black Panther.
It represents a shift of sorts. Beyoncé had posted outfits regularly before, but suddenly, we all started paying attention in a different way. Suddenly, we were getting the traditional trio of outfit posts we see on our favourite style accounts. Suddenly, what she wore off stage mattered to more than just the Beyhive. And suddenly, we were getting more than manicured brand images, Ivy Park campaigns, and tour performance shots from Mrs Knowles Carter.
Over the years, King B’s (Queen just doesn’t do her justice) relationship with fashion has been somewhat complicated. Case in point: when the Fashion Director and Chief Fashion Critic at the New York Times, Vanessa Friedman, wrote a piece reacting to the news that Beyoncé’s clothing would be featured in an exhibition in The Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
Fans dragged Miss Friedman for daring to suggest that while Beyoncé was an icon of pop culture and even of rock, she was not an icon of fashion. Friedman pointed out that while ‘Beyoncé the Performer’ has influenced style for years, as part of Destiny’s Child and then on her own too (all with Mommy Tina on hand to help), ‘Beyoncé the Personality’, the individual, has not. Here’s a snippet of what she said, in 2014:
Beyoncé hasn’t moved, or influenced, the direction of fashion writ large in the way that, say, Rihanna, the winner of this year’s CFDA Fashion Icon award, has… . She doesn’t wear things and spark a million trends, like Madonna once did with her jeweled crosses and lace minis, not to mention her bullet bra corsets. She doesn’t cause items to sell out overnight, like wee Prince George.
She doesn’t worm her way into designers’ imaginations, the way Patti Smith and Courtney Love did. Her stylist has not become a well-known name in his own right, the way Nicola Formichetti has moved from working with Lady Gaga (who also won the CFDA Fashion Icon award in 2011) to becoming the creative director and frontman of Diesel.
Her megafame could not even sustain her own fashion brand, House of Deréon, which appears to have been suspended (the Facebook page links to a website, houseofdereon.com, which the Internet says “cannot be found,” though some jeans and shoes are still sold on third-party sites), unlike, say, that of Jessica Simpson, which has revenues of about $1 billion.
Even hardcore stans have to concede that back then, off-duty Beyoncé had been a non-player in the street fashion game for most of her career. Fan or not, I agreed with Vanessa Friedman.
It’s not because the woman doesn’t have style, but because she’s so fiercely private. She’s not a Jenner or a Hadid, putting on a strategic style show for us every time they leave their apartments to bolster their fashion industry careers. Up until recently, Beyoncé was the Sadé of style – moving in silence and stepping onto the occasional red carpet to remind us that she’s still, well, Beyoncé.
Maintaining mystery is part of the job for people on her level. As a result, her style story has suffered the effects of underreporting. Beyoncé influences us in a way other celebrities don’t. It’s just not as well recorded as the ‘Kate Middleton effect’ because, until Ivy Park, it didn’t have much to do with clothes we could see her in on Wednesday and buy the same weekend.
Maybe she’s just feeling really free after releasing Lemonade (we will never forgive the Grammy’s for that snub). It could have something to do with staying at the top of her music game while raising one kid and birthing two more. Maybe it’s her growth – as a businesswoman specifically, with everything from Tidal to Parkwood Entertainment, to Ivy Park. Either way, she’s made what seems to be a conscious decision not to be so precious about her personal style anymore, and it’s great. For us anyway.
Stylists are still involved, but that’s not news – just the business of entertainment. It’s the everyday outfits her Majesty has posted to her account over the past few months that have brought her style back to the centre of conversation and called it into question. She’s experimenting with style in a way that yields sometimes exciting, sometimes wild, and occasionally confusing results.
Exhibit B: This 2016 outfit elicited a collective twitterverse cry of “Oh no, Baby what is you doin’?”
Then came the interesting maternity wardrobe.
Another one that had people confused was this almost-there-but-not-quite combination.
She mixes things up with collage and slideshows, those hilarious bobblehead Christmas videos, and stylish hip-hop and pop culture Halloween costumes. This is proof she doesn’t take it all too seriously. Sometimes it really is *whispers* meme-worthy. As a fashion fan first and foremost, I’d rather she experiment and take risks than subscribe to some stale idea of what she should be doing because of the pedestal she’s on. Fashion is always more fun that way.