What you need to know about Queen Bey's performance via her outfit changes
Words: Lelo Meslani | Photography: Getty
After being billed 14 years ago to perform at the 46664 Aids Benefit Concert, Beyoncé returned to South Africa for the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100, dedicating her performance to the people our country while serving couture realness through her costumes.
What's a performance without outfit changes? For her On The Run Tour II (lite) performance, there were not only a number of custom designer looks, but some surprises as well.
Shout out to Beyoncé and her team (Zerina Ackers and Jenke Ahmed Tailly, plus Jay-Z's longtime stylist June Ambrose) for an unforgettable night, and if you weren't there then scroll down to see what you missed.
The 'Formation' singer and 22-time Grammy Award winner stepped out in her first look designed by Greek fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, who's famous for her intelligent use of hyper-real digital prints, textures and daring embroidery work. This stained glass garment assisted by a long coat, mapped out the 54 countries of Africa, with each country boasting different embroidery to represent Africa's diversity. Along with the puff sleeve coat was a classic Bey-shaped body suit, black gloves and thigh-high boots. The clever piece was accompanied by songs such as 'Holy Grail', 'Part II (On The Run)' and '03 Bonnie & Clyde'.
On her second look, Bey took us to Wakanda (yes, that was probably the design brief), with a sculptural shape of the Balmain top she wore to perform 'Ape$hit' echoing Olivier Rousteing's silhouettes, but with the addition of a plume of feathers and Egyptian hieroglyphs bringing a new verve. The show-stopper of the night.
Our Queen Bey turned the celebration of Mandela's legacy into a fashion affair performing a special rendition of 'Halo' with a local choir, flexing her vocal ability on'Ave Maria' and even a soulful duet with Ed Sheeran for their song 'Perfect' while wearing a voluminous Ashi Studio hot pink gown with cascades of fuchsia tulle ruffles.
Bey's fourth look was a custom Atelier Versace neon yellow catsuit with matching wide-brimmed hat, in which she performed 'Formation' along with backup dancers who wore similar primary colour looks. Representing the LGBTQ+ flag – we stan a performer with a message behind her look.
Fan favourite 'Crazy in Love' called for an intricately beaded Esteban Cortazar dress, accented by jewelry in the style of traditional Ndebele neck rings and bracelets. According to Ms Tina Lawson, the dress featured 100 000 African beads. Twitter fans suggested nods to Nala's costume from the live musical The Lion King, which Bey is set to voice the character for when the live-action Disney film releases next year.
Local designers Quiteria & George in collaboration with Enhle Mbali Maphumulo assembled the dramatic finale look for Bey; an emerald cape dress with a bodice covered in hundreds of crystals.
Given the festival's message – and with some of the costumes put together onsite by designers, seamstress and beadworkers – it made the experience that much more special. Beyoncé's philanthropic work through BeyGood has shown that it takes many hands to work together for a greater good, and we hope to see The Carter's return to our shores soon.