Beyoncé really does run the world! With her On the Run tour with husband Jay Z in full swing, Queen Bey surprised all of us over the weekend when she and Nicki Minaj released a remix to her “Flawless” single, and managed to pick up a few VMA nominations along the way. It’s only appropriate that the star looks flawless on and off the stage, and during a recent chat with designer Michael Costello, who also created the amazing gown she wore to the Grammys, we just had to pick his brain about the trio of looks he designed for the tour.
With a muse like Beyoncé, Costello didn’t have to look far for inspiration. “I was inspired by Beyoncé herself and her iconic style, however, I wanted to take it to the next level by creating statement pieces that would be showstoppers,” he tells InStyle.com exclusively. “I didn’t pull inspiration from her videos, but I drew from her music. She’s a fashion icon and a voice of this generation.”
After speaking with Beyoncé’s stylist Ty Hunter, Costello decided to create three bodysuits, merging his signature aesthetic with some Queen Bey flair. Of course, comfort was a huge factor in the design process, as the pieces needed to keep up with the high-octane dance moves. “The most important element to include was comfort,” Costello says. “Since they are performance pieces, I had to make sure the fabrics I selected allowed her to dance and sing.” Each piece took a few days to construct and piece together, with the final payoff being able to see them in action. “It was a surreal feeling seeing my pieces come to life on stage. It took my breath away!” he adds. “She rocked the pieces like only she could, and to top it all off, she performed some of my favorite songs in them, which made it even more special.” We’ll say! Keep reading to see what Costello had to say about each of his stunning pieces from Beyoncé’s On the Run tour.
“This look came together with a vision that Beyoncé’s stylist Ty Hunter had. He had an image of a model in these really beautiful, embroidered sequin shorts, with a heavy-stitched embroidered top,” Costello tells us. He then embarked on a search to find the perfect floral print fabric for the bottoms, which also needed the ability to stretch during the intense dance sequences. Once Costello found a blue, rose-printed option, he got extra creative by incorporating gold-embroidered lace into the motif, which he spray-painted with a metallic hue and applied the pieces over the existing print. “The rest of the look came together by chance and luck,” he adds. “I was walking around one day and I found this gorgeous sequin fabric and thought, ‘Oh, we have to put these two together. It’s so different; It’s so hot.'” Initially, he was unsure of whether or not the team would like it, but the piece got the Queen Bey stamp of approval. Overall, searching for the fabrics took three days, and the entire outfit came together after nine hours of working nonstop.
This metallic cutout number came together after Hunter encouraged Costello to go with his instinct, which prompted the designer to pose the eternal question: What would Beyoncé do? “I thought, ‘If I was Beyoncé, how would I want to look and feel?” he says. “I wanted her to feel beautiful, strong, and super sexy, but also needed the outfit to be ventilated. I din’t want her to feel overheated like she was in armor during her performance.” Costello revisited Beyoncé’s now-iconic “Single Ladies” video, and in just two hours, was able to design a stunning metallic bodysuit with a cutout in the center. “I had that fabric for a long time and I wanted to use it specifically for Beyoncé,” says Costello. “I had imagined her wearing her hair in a ponytail with this piece, and when I saw how Ty had styled everything, I was really impressed with the look—her hair, the entire styling was amazing! For me, I just want Beyoncé to feel confident, free, and beautiful in my clothes.” Judging by the showstopping routine she put on just after donning the bodysuit, mission accomplished!
The final bodysuit incorporated intricate black lace with dramatic sleeves and cutout detailing. “The inspiration was a very cathedral, romantic, Victorian feel mixed with my personal music tastes,” Costello says. “As always, my inner inspiration comes from Beyoncé because I’m a true die-hard fan, but I think it’s her hair and the way that she moves—I try to use and mimic that into the clothing.” Costello constructed the outfit over a period of three days, then took two days to piece it together as the ensemble required very precise measurements. “I just wanted to make this one extra special. Being the final look, I had to try and think about how to make it danceable,” Costello adds. “Ty was telling me, ‘Be fabulous. Be who you are. Do exactly what you do—we love what you do, but make it danceable.'”