It has been a full year since Beyoncé dropped her seventh studio solo album, Renaissance, and like every other drop, this album brought on another cultural reset. The Renaissance World Tour kicked off on May 10, 2023 and introduced a new era of style for the musical icon and all those who come to share in the experience. It is clear that attending this concert is unlike many others; it is more than a musical performance, it is a fashion affair. Weeks, if not months, worth of planning into their outfits are being put in by fans from all over the world.
The album reclaims house music, a historically Black genre, and infuses it with multiple genre-bending sounds, all while centering on the people it was inspired by: the Black queer and ballroom communities. The essence of ballroom culture includes movement, personal expression, and, of course, turning a look. So, it is only fitting for this era to be equally as fabulous.
The importance of this representation in real-time is spoken to by artist and Beyhive member Anthony Pittman, “I knew the hive was going to go all out for this tour, but for me personally, my connection to Renaissance and this entire era has shed so much light on Black queer culture. It was only right that I go all out and celebrate myself as well as a Black queer person.”
As Beyonce fans know all too well, the Virgo queen always strives for perfection, but this era feels different. Instead, it focuses on the liberation of the body and notably, the soul. It emboldens fans to break from the expectations and restrictions placed upon them and show up as their authentic, freest selves. The Renaissance album and its concurrent rollout is taking the idea of “feel-good music” up several notches.
Dorothy Redmond, a long-standing Beyoncé fan who will have attended six Beyoncé concerts after her three Renaissance dates, always goes the extra mile for a Bey show, but even more so this time around, “This concert is different because it’s a signal to let loose, have fun, and dance! It gives me a reason to be unapologetically extra!” For the Barcelona stop of the tour, Redmond customized a black leotard and cowboy hat with reflective silver mirror panels to reference the album’s disco-like aesthetic.
Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour is inspiring an air of innovation and exploration in all attendees whether they are first-time concert-goers or die-hard stans. Each fan ESSENCE.com spoke to cited this tour in particular feeling different than other artists’ concerts and even previous Beyoncé concerts they may have attended. While some are creating their own interpretations of the Renaissance style, others are opting to make replicas of Beyoncé’s show-stopping tour looks.
“I have never put this much intention into a concert outfit before,” recalls Ania Holland who attended the Hamburg, Germany show. She describes seeing Beyoncé up close as a “childhood dream coming true,” and felt inclined to go all out, “if I’m gonna spend a coin on Beyoncé, I’m gonna do it right!” Holland collaborated with artist Rommelo to bring her creation to life.
The consensus is clear: Renaissance sparked an awakening of sorts, and the style is reflective of that. Marissa Marshall, who will be attending the July 30th show at MetLife Stadium in a custom-made outfit inspired by Bey’s look from the 2006 BET Awards, says “I think Renaissance the album, and especially this tour, fosters a unique sense of encouragement for self-expression and also makes you want to pay tribute to an artist of a lifetime (Bey). I wanted to do something fun and creative, versus a typical concert look. That’s the point of Renaissance!” Marshall notes that this is the first occasion she’s ever gone the extra mile for and gotten an outfit made.
Pittman delves deeper into the intention and impact behind his concert-going efforts, “I hand painted a leather coat that I wore for the shows in Paris and London, which got a lot of attention at the show and online. I have a quick cameo in the tour video Beyoncé posted because of my look! I started taking commissions specifically for the hive attending RWT so I’m also helping other folks create their custom looks for the tour which has been so fun for me to combine my passion for art and Beyoncé!” Pittman’s dedication to the Renaissance tour is evident as he plans to attend a minimum of five shows and has another look in the works for the LA leg of the tour.
The impact of Renaissance’s music and overall experience is evident in the care people are putting into their wardrobe. Beyoncé set a precedent, and her fans have more than understood the assignment.