You might think that after putting on a sold-out 49-date stadium tour that grossed $250 million, Beyoncé would be ready to take a little break. And she did — one that lasted all of eight days. Then she made her way to Barclays Center to perform three songs as a part of Tidal’s charity concert this weekend. And obviously, it was amazing.
As has become Bey’s habit, her appearance required a multiplicity of looks. The 35-year-old star arrived to the event in a sheer, black skin-tight custom dress by the Italian brand Gattinoni, which also dressed her for the Formation World Tour, according to the brand’s website. Her look for the Tidal concert seemed to have direct references to Africa.
After appearing on the not-so-red carpet, a photo of the look’s inspirations was uploaded to Beyoncé’s site. Specifically, it featured a photo of a woman in the Congo with scarification, which is a body art method wherein you cut or brand the skin, causing it to heal into lumps that create keloids in a variety of patterns. The cultures that practice this see the marks as beautiful, just as some regard tattoos.
Those scars were translated as jewels in Mrs. Knowles-Carter’s dress. In addition, the dress included an elaborate necklace that resembled the instruments used in various cultures in Africa for the purposes of neck stretching. The entire look was a silent riff on beauty ideals and body standards black women have historically been beholden to.
Onstage, Bey’s performance was divided into two sections. For the first part, she appeared in a gold, shimmering, liquid dress. The piece, featuring a high neck, saw her through an artsy, video opening before she stripped down to a gold, corset-focused leotard, which she wore during her performances of “6 Inch” and “Haunted.”
That piece came with lacy, black bra detailing at the bodice, high-heeled black boots, large ornate earrings, and a high-braided ponytail that dropped down to the star’s thigh. The latter two details came into conflict as Bey whipped her ponytail around and the end got stuck on the accessory, causing a painful and bloody wardrobe malfunction.
At the end of the night, Beyoncé returned to the stage (thankfully, no longer bleeding) for a final song. Wearing a teal-and-gold brocade pantsuit, the “Flawless” singer gave a soulful rendition of a song she rarely performs: “All Night.” The suit came with a high waist, peaked lapel, flared trouser, and a slightly long back panel. Matched with chunky platform heels, it felt very Gucci Resort 2017 and was designed by Shannon Stokes.
She finished it all with a short rousing speech about the importance of voting. While not explicitly endorsing anyone (though on social media, some called her final look a “Hillary Clinton pantsuit”), she ended by saying, “I know it seems that things are bad, but if you think that things can’t get worse, ask your grandparents!”