Lessons from Beychella: how to dress like Beyoncé this summer

Beyoncé’s headlining Coachella show referenced Nefertiti and had IRL-friendly takeaways like yellow hoodies, denim jean shorts, camo and berets. Here’s all you need to know

A new word was invented on Saturday night: Beychella, the rightful portmanteau for Beyoncé performing at Coachella and making it a festival – indeed a world – where she is queen and everyone else should just admit defeat. This was as true in terms of fashion as it was in performance. Beyoncé is a full-package kind of superstar after all. All clothes were designed in collaboration with the creative director of Balmain, Olivier Rousteing, and two costume changes occurred in the first five minutes of a two-hour set. While they were all kinds of fabulous, they also contained secrets of your style for the months ahead, along with some insights into what Beyoncé is thinking. Here are five points of interest from the Beychella wardrobe. Bow down.

1912 is the year to namecheck

Beyoncé’s opening ‘Nefertiti’ outfit
Beyoncé’s opening ‘Nefertiti’ outfit. Photograph: Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Coachella

That was when the bust of Nefertiti was discovered in Egypt. The queen has since been an icon of regal female beauty, so Beyoncé rightly feels an affinity. This dates back to Sorry, when the singer wore her hair to resemble the Nefertiti sculpture’s headpiece, while her most recent line of merch is dedicated to the Egyptian queen. Beychella’s opening outfit with headpiece and bodice is more than a little Nefertiti, and, to underline the point, she also features in sequins on the back of her cape. According to Rousteing, Jay-Z was a big fan of this look. Pharoah costume incoming.

Education, Beyoncé-style

Beyoncé wearing her T-shirt with ‘Beyoncé-themed’ crest.
Beyoncé wearing her T-shirt with Beyoncé-themed crest. Photograph: Beyonce/Instagram

Beyoncé is a woman who knows about optics. See a T-shirt she wore featuring a Beyoncé-themed crest: there’s a bee for her fans, the Beyhive; a black-power salute; a black panther; and Nefertiti, overseen by the Eye of Horus. The internet has said it nods to “black Greek” culture, and African-American sororities on university campuses. Political statement through icons – kind of like emojis if you think about it – feels very now. We would be willing to bet this crest will feature on merch at tour stops this summer.

Blue and yellow

Beyonce in yellow hoodie, jean shorts and white-fringed go-go boots.
Beyonce in yellow hoodie, jean shorts and white-fringed go-go boots. Photograph: Frank Micelotta/Rex/Shutterstock

A yellow hoodie and jean shorts are set to be the everyday outfit of Beyhive members this summer. It’s a bit surfer, a bit out-all-day-so-better-take-a-jumper. Beyoncé has history with yellow – she wore it in the Hold Up video from Lemonade – but this shade is slightly more urban, more multistorey car park, if you will. It is also a perfect match for denim and, if so inclined, white-fringed go-go boots.

Army of Bey

Beyoncé reunited in camo with Destiny’s Child collaborators Kelly Rowland (left) and Michelle Williams (right).
Beyoncé reunited in camo with Destiny’s Child collaborators Kelly Rowland (left) and Michelle Williams (right). Photograph: Beyonce/Instagram

The accessory of the summer? For Beyoncé, it’s her former bandmates. Destiny’s Child collaborators Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams made a cameo at Beychella, all dressed in various versions of camo. OK, it was a route-one reference to them singing Soldier, and fitted the marching-band backdrop, but it was also an endorsement of a trend coming up in mortals’ wardrobes too, even onsite at Coachella. Make it your festival fabric of choice. And if you don’t have the other members of a 90s R&B band to accessorise with, a pair of Timberlands will do just fine.

The beret is the woke hat of choice

Beyoncé’s marching band all wearing berets.
Beyoncé’s marching band all wearing berets. Photograph: Frank Micelotta/Rex/Shutterstock

The beret is Picasso in a Breton top, it’s Bonnie in Bonnie and Clyde, it’s Che Guevara. At the subtly politically charged Beychella, however, it’s the favoured headgear of the Black Panther party, one of whom described the beret as “an international hat for the revolutionary”. While Beyoncé herself was bare-headed most of the time, her dancers all wore matching berets, as did the 200-strong marching band sourced from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the US. This isn’t just a hat, then – it’s a radical statement.


Lauren Cochrane

The GuardianTramp

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