When you watch a Beyoncé performance, you know every last detail has been carefully considered: the set list, the lighting, and especially the costumes. Sometimes, you have to look a little closer—maybe even wait to zoom in on the high-res images once they pop up on the Internet—to truly appreciate the thought that goes into them. In the case of the six outfits Beyoncé wore to perform at the Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg over the weekend, they definitely warrant a second look.
Styled by Zerina Akers and Jenke Ahmed Tailly, Beyoncé wore a different ensemble to accompany each segment of her set with Jay-Z. The most show-stopping—and symbolic—of them was arguably an embroidered cape-and-bodysuit combo by British designer Mary Katrantzou.
The top half of the outfit featured Katrantzou's signature graphic patterns, which according to the designer are meant to reflect each country in Africa. The bottom was embroidered with a map of the continent's 54 sovereign states.
"We wanted the outfit to represent both Beyoncé's energy and grace on stage, while celebrating the diversity of Africa," Katrantzou told Vogue UK. “We first mapped out the continent on her, creating a floral patchwork that was printed on a sequin base and then hand-embroidered it with Swarovski crystals."
Katrantzou added that Beyoncé's creative team wanted her wardrobe to "be about Mother Africa and female empowerment." That translated to her other outfits too: When it came time for "Crazy in Love," the performer changed into a beaded minidress with matching back piece which, per Tina Knowles, was made from "a hundred thousand African beads."
For "Ape$hit," Beyoncé once again turned to the French fashion house Balmain, which designed her epic Beychella costumes and collaborated with her on a capsule inspired by them. The custom bodysuit and shorts ensemble featured an Egyptian hieroglyph print and feather-accented seam.
Later, for the ballad portion of the set, Beyoncé changed into a voluminous tulle gown by Ashi Studio.
A girl-power "Run the World (Girls)" moment called for the whole squad to be outfitted in colorful Versace bodysuits (and matching hats.)
To close out the set, Beyoncé donned an emerald-green beaded bodysuit with a regal cape.