As we shoot the fabulous fashion story Fantastic voyage in the Chilean desert, we get to know what the crew is up to and learn about the thinking behind it all.
Stranded on planet fashion, mixing futurism with sleek sophistication is way to survive.
Photos: Josh Olins
Styling: Clare Richardson
The Super Bowl performance, the documentary film, the much-anticipated new album and now an H&M collection inspired by her style. Admired by millions of fans, BEYONCÉ is never one to rest on her laurels. We secured an exclusive interview with the tireless Queen of Pop.
Singer, actress, dancer, director and possibly the most admired woman on Earth, the power package that is BEYONCÉ has sold 75 million records and was named the Most Powerful and Most Influential Musician in the World by Forbes Magazine last year. And she shows no sign of slowing down. She kicked off 2013 with a historical half-time performance at the Super Bowl and made her feature directorial debut with the autobiographical documentary film Life is But a Dream, which aired on HBO in February.
The summer months will be no less packed: coinciding with the release of new music, the global superstar joins H&M as the face of the new summer campaign, and the inspiration behind a new beachwear collection.
If you’ve followed BEYONCÉ through the years, you may have noticed that she loves the sea. Snapped on holiday, she looks happy and relaxed, with those ultra-famous curves covered by great outfits, always wearing the ultimate summer accessory: a loving smile. It is her relaxed yet sexy summer style that works so brilliantly as a starting point for the H&M BEYONCÉ collection, which includes bikinis and other beach-perfect pieces, including a pair of high-waisted shorts, a body-con dress and a flowing beach gown slashed to the thigh. Items, in brief, for hot days and long nights of fashion and fun by the sea.
THE MAGIC OF BEYONCÉ
The thing about BEYONCÉ – her magic touch, if you will – is that she is not just one of the most successful or famous or beautiful women in the world, but one of the most loved, too.
It seems BEYONCÉ’s popularity isn’t just about fans who love her and spread the word, but also about BEYONCÉ loving them back. Asked about highlights in her career, she mentions her hits Crazy in Love and Baby Boy as two personal favourites, but adds: “Some of my fondest memories come from performing live, just seeing my fans from around the world and seeing how music can bring so many different cultures together. That stays with you, it’s something you never forget.”
Even when talking about the amazing choreography in her videos (Google “BEYONCÉ’s best dance moves” for a quick reminder of exactly how accomplished a dancer she is) this humble superstar again chooses to pay homage to her fans: “What’s been fun over the past few years is watching fans create their own personal versions of the videos and posting them on YouTube. I love their creativity.”
THE H&M CAMPAIGN
The H&M campaign commercial is likely to be just as popular and widely copied. Set up like a music video, the clip was created by Jonas Åkerlund, the bad-boy director who has also worked with Lady Gaga, Madonna and Rihanna. “It was incredible to work with Jonas,” say BEYONCÉ. “We had a great time shooting the TV commercial for the Mrs Carter Show World Tour, so I was looking forward to working with him again. He has such a great imagination and I love seeing his visions come to life.”
The imagery for the H&M campaign commercial was themed around the four elements of earth, air, fire and water. The latter of the four, water, has a serious resonance, as a resource that is scarce for many world citizens. This is why 25 per cent of sales of the tie-dye bikini in the H&M BEYONCÉ collection will be donated to H&M for Water. The H&M for Water initiative, a collaboration with Wateraid, was launched in 2002, and is dedicated to improving access to clean water and hygiene for the world’s poorest people. With the help of celebrities such as Kylie Minogue, the H&M for Water initiative has already raised more than £2,650,000.
SHE’S GOT THE LOOK
She is naturally beautiful, but BEYONCÉ is not one of those super- skinny women who claim they eat a mountain of pasta every day and still don’t put on any weight. Instead, she readily admits to working hard to reach her goals. “When I am getting ready for a tour, I am doing choreography seven hours a day,” she says. “If I’m not preparing for a tour or already on tour, I work with a trainer, doing cardio and light weights and I have learned to make healthy eating choices.” There you go: that perfect bod (even pregnant, BEYONCÉ looked the very definition of glamour dancing onstage in a mini-dress) didn’t come from nowhere. Her attitude is very inspiring, since it suggests that others have a chance of succeeding, too.
So how does a super-celeb, one who is sure to get snapped by paparazzi whenever she steps out of the door, decide what to wear? “It depends on how I’m feeling that day,” says BEYONCÉ. “I like sexy but classic pieces; I love prints and patterns, and mixing textures as well as solid colours.” She adds that she always loved a fitted jacket, and that “a great pair of stilettos and sunglasses” are her wardrobe essentials.
As so often, BEYONCÉ is quick to credit her team. “Luckily I have great, honest people around me to help. My stylists Ty Hunter and Raquel Smith are an influential part of the process. They keep me fresh.” She reveals that her sense of style is owed to her mother. “I watched her from the time I was a little girl – she was so stylish. She was the first person I saw mix high-end pieces with more accessible styles and make it all work. And I’ve always admired the simple yet sexy styles of Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Brigitte Bardot and Kate Moss.” Considering her own collection for H&M, BEYONCÉ says her favourites include the beaded shorts and the landscape print scuba dress. “I also really love the bikinis. I’ve been wearing H&M bathing suits for years, so this was a fun collaboration for me.”
A BUSY BEY
You have to wonder just how much time BEYONCÉ will have for hanging out on the beach this year. The Queen of Pop will again meet her fans, as the Mrs Carter Show World Tour comes to major European cities in April and May and then continues to North America at the end of June.
“I’ve been working with Pharrell and Timbaland and Justin Timberlake and The-Dream. We all started in the 1990s, when R&B was the most important genre, and we all kind of want that back – the feeling that music gave us,” she said to GQ magazine earlier this year. The song for the H&M commercial, Standing On The Sun, is an upbeat affair that, according to the singer, “just makes you feel good. It’s about being carefree and allowing yourself to live in the moment.”
There’s a good reason why Summer in the City by 1960s band the Lovin’ Spoonful is on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all time – it is a truth universally acknowledged that the vibe in the city when the sun shines down is happy, relaxed and light-hearted.
Everything seems to slow down in the summer. City residents are busy beasts by inclination, roaring along the streets. Somehow, in the summer they calm down, adopt a gentler pace, and smile more. The city becomes magical, and can even offer a genuine alternative to the beach.
It’s not just the slow pace and nicer weather that make the case for summer in the city. A resort or the beach might be relaxed choices for holidaymakers, but the city is the cool option. Access to shopping, great clubs, and all the good food you could want means you don’t have to make any concessions. Everything you need is exactly where it is during the rest of the year: on your doorstep. Where else can you start the day with brunch in a hip café and head down to the bookstore to buy all the latest fashion magazines before reading them in a shady spot in the park? Then perhaps an impromptu shopping spree because the sales are on, before meeting up with your friends to try out your new statement piece at a sweaty, cool-as-anything club?
The city is also the place to be fashionable in the summer. Life may slow down a bit when it gets warmer, but we all still want to look our best. Whether you are into the clear, sharp colours that are still on-trend, or prefer the perennial summer boho look, one thing is clear: in the city, summer style will be hotter than anywhere else.
In days gone by, they were the easiest way to pledge allegiance to your favourite band, but now the humble rock t-shirt has become an essential part of the wardrobes of many fashionistas, as we found out on the streets.
It can be so easy to get lost in the girly world of style trends, and what better way to kick it up a notch than to work your favourite rock ‘n’ roll tee into a fashionable look? A faded band logo on a soft black t-shirt has the ideal edge to toughen up a flirty tropical print or a cute miniskirt, like we spotted. It's also the stylish way to dress down a pretty outfit while still hanging on to your cool credentials. The best styling tip here? Mixing your rock tee with some jewellery, whether a big and bulky statement necklace or else a fine pendant and some delicate earrings.
Photos: Gianluca Senese, NOBODYKNOWSMARC
Sportswear meets prep with a healthy dose of whites and neutrals in our Ways To Wear It shoot.
1. Cropped cool
Cropped suit trousers go a long way when paired with a rough and ready white tee. Simple style made edgy.
2. Clean and fresh
The right accessories give this athletic look a masculine charm: box-fresh white sneakers make sure these tailored separates are ready to hit the street.
3. Breezy blazer
How to smarten up your trusty warm-up wear? Try a light blazer over a hoody and track shorts for a rugged take on minimal athletic style.
4. White out
All white is the way forward for a brighter version of masculine basics. Shorts that graze the top of the knee sit perfectly with a fresh, crisp shirt.
All clothes by H&M.
This season's man is minimal and fresh, with the perfect proportions of clean athleticism and tailoring in his wardrobe. We talked to our Ways to Wear It stylist Amanda Johansson about mixing your favourite classics and staples to get the freshest new look for the summer.
What were your key influences for this shoot?
I was influenced by the idea of a young, sporty and sophisticated man. The style of classic Calvin Klein, the iconic white t-shirts worn by Marlon Brando and James Dean, and British polo-players.
What's the best way to give sportswear a fresh spin?
Don't be afraid to use sporty pieces in an athletic grey melange, and mix it with suit trousers to get a more refined look. Or try the opposite way – sporty trousers or shorts worn with a classic shirt or a blazer.
What are the key accessories for bringing sportswear to the street?
Mix it up with classic well-dressed pieces and finish it off with some sporty shoes. But remember, they need to be brand new and bright white!
What's your favourite look from this shoot?
My favourite look here is the cropped suit trousers – a bit shorter this season makes it even hotter – and the thin washed t-shirt with a vest on top. The combination with dressed up pants and a vintage-feel t-shirt is perfect for this season.
The interest in fixed gear bikes, so called “fixies”, is growing in the USA. In Miami, we hang out with self-declared fixie junkie Sabrina, who loves the look and the lifestyle of the scene. She takes us to a film shoot of an independent movie about fixies in the trendy neighbourhood of Wynwood.
Something has happened to sexy dressing – it’s gone sophisticated. Gone are the obvious erogenous zones – the brazen cleavage and perma-tanned thighs – replaced by a softer, subtler idea of what’s sexy now.
It was evident on the catwalk, where ultra short body-con dresses have all but vanished in favour of veiled chiffon, clever cutaway sections and long skirts with now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t splits. And it’s been replicated on the red carpet, too. In response to the CBS TV channel’s modesty guidelines for the Grammy Awards, Rihanna showed up in grown-up, floor-length Alaïa, while Beyoncé covered up in Osman’s minimalist jumpsuit.
For Italian designers this is quite the departure from the molto short ‘n’ tight silhouette we love Gucci, Pucci and Versace for. Gucci’s collection was one high-necked tunic after another, punctuated by long-sleeved dresses with peekaboo honeycomb sections. Pucci’s virginal white parade was full of the kind of sexy-cool sheer-panelled trousers adored by style bloggers like Susie Bubble and Rumi Neely. Elsewhere, boxy, tailored shapes take over from clingy jersey, most noticeably at Preen and Givenchy, where suggestive splits and organza layers hint at what lies beneath.
To what do we owe this trend? Is it an overall fatigue of flesh flashing or perhaps proof of the growing influence of Middle Eastern consumers? Valentino’s sheer, long-sleeved blouses and dresses with prim collars sum up the contradiction of discreet modesty and exposed transparency and it’s worth noting that the brand is now owned by the Qatari royal family. A mere coincidence, or a sign of the times? In any case, we love this new option for sexy dressing. Modesty and allure is where it’s at!
Sanna La Fleur is a DJ and recording artist living and working in Berlin. We follow her fascinating and creative life over a day.
Mixing textures and fabrics, this cool, undone look will be ready for the dog days of summer, not to mention those long hot nights!
1. Delicate dressing
Combine pale and sheer fabrics for an ethereal look. These loose trousers lend a tailored touch to a dreamy outfit.
2. Luscious layers
These muddy floral wide trousers are the right kind of neutral for summer – as the super-sequinned jacket layered on top goes to show, mixing bohemian prints adds up to the perfect uniform for the modern-day free spirit.
3. Cool contrast
Soften up a sharp, laser-cut eyelet skirt with a slouchy white shirt and straw beach hat.
4. Super fresh
Platform sandals make a striking accompaniment to a tiered miniskirt and cosy cardigan. Also, a hint of turquoise goes a long way.
All clothes by H&M.
East meets West in our Ways to Wear It shoot, inspired by both the soft feminine styles of Japan as well as rock ‘n’ roll and vintage chic from the archives, too. We asked our stylist Amanda Johansson about how these looks came together and how to get the look for yourself!
What was your inspiration for the shoot?
My inspiration for this shoot was both Asia, and also a touch of the rock ’n’ roll girl, like the Olsen twins and Courtney Love. Plus, the Dries Van Noten S/S 2013 show, with all those patterns and fluid fabrics!
Who is the woman who you see wearing this?
The woman I see in this kind of look is a woman with self-confidence. She is feminine and she loves music and travelling. She’ll mix high fashion with a lot of vintage, too.
What is your favourite piece here?
My favourite piece for this look is a thin shirt that feels as if it has been washed a lot. Also I loved all the pieces that look like old vintage lingerie, like the vest and the kimono with that wonderful lace.
What’s your best styling tip for getting this look?
Wear a thin vintage nightdress as a dress and mix it with a big wool cardigan and a feminine shoe. It’s super-sexy with that “I just got out of bed” look.