In this weekly feature, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come.
The Moment: Now here’s a fashion exhibit that, if you happen to be in Cleveland starting on Tuesday, you really can’t miss. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame just announced it will present a selection of Beyoncé’s greatest hits, in the form of her most memorable outfits. And these are major pieces, as in one-sleeved-black-leotard-“Single Ladies” major.
Beyoncé, it should be noted, has not always been the flawless style icon that she is today, and she has made more than her share of questionable red carpet choices over the years. But her fashion evolution is indeed worthy of curatorial study. The vanguard-to-vulgar wardrobe from her video album released in December alone could be the subject of a thesis on conflicting expressions of feminism and voluntary sexual objectification in contemporary pop culture.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s selections, from Beyoncé’s personal collection, are being shown in an exhibition for the first time, the museum notes, with looks going back as far as the white cotton tank top and J Brand denim shorts from the 2003 video for “Crazy in Love.” Ty Hunter, Beyoncé’s stylist, says of the outfit: “Beyoncé wanted to let the fashion build. She wanted simplicity.”
Why It’s a Wow: Beyoncé’s fashion indeed builds, though one consistent hallmark of her style has always been transparency. Among the designs included in the exhibition, there are examples from the crystal cobweb of a top Beyoncé wore on the cover of her “Dangerously in Love” album cover in 2003 (pictured, top left), so insubstantial as to be nearly intangible, to the black-beaded and purple-feathered Givenchy gown she wore to the Met Gala in 2012 (pictured, middle), notable for its strategically placed sheer panels. Hunter says of this dress, worn just four months after giving birth, “She wanted to be sexy, and the illusion of being naked amplified the dress and her figure to perfection.”
Also included are the Rubin Singer black-leather-and-lace bodysuit Beyoncé wore like a tattoo to perform at the Super Bowl in 2013 (pictured, top right) and two fantastic gold dresses that would make C-3P0 blush: the fitted dress of scales made by Gareth Pugh for her 2011 video for “Run the World (Girls),” and the Thierry Mugler metallic bodysuit from “Sweet Dreams” in 2009.
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