Beyoncé doesn’t just drop an album; she unleashes a vision. This sometimes manifests itself as a visual album, as it did extremely revolutionary with 2016’s Lemonade, in which the music is fully understood through rich accompanying cinematography. She shared a series of photographs on her website last week, just days before the release of Renaissance, her first solo studio album since then: sitting on a red velvet sofa with brown liquor in a rocks glass, metal spears jutting out of a fitted black mini-dress to form a plated bustier; sitting in the middle of an empty dance floor in an exuberant silver chiton gown, one arm flung in the air and the other covering her breast; floating in an altar room in a lime green gown.
The absence of recognisable designer products is even more evident in these photographs. Many of the designers are well-known: the lime green lace gown is by Alaa, redone in an acid tone from the runway. Dolce & Gabbana’s cropped red channelled puffer jacket is worn perched next to an old-fashioned “On Air” sign. There are numerous sparkling, peekaboo bodysuits (a Beyoncé trademark), two of which she wears while riding a horse; both are by relatively unknown designers, Gianni Naazar and NusiQuero. A cone bra she wears on a flight of crimson steps appears to be a Jean Paul Gaultier creation—a nod to Madonna’s days as a pioneer of mass provocation—but it’s actually a design from Daniel Roseberry’s Spring 2022 Schiaparelli collection.