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The Renaissance Tour: A Beyoncé Fan’s Met Gala

One fan called it “the closest thing I think any of us will get to a Met Gala.” Boardroom examines the opulent fashion display at a Beyoncé concert.

After two years of rescheduled, postponed, or canceled shows, it seems like every artist from mainstream to indie was ready to hit the road this year. And the fans were ready, itching to shell out whatever necessary in order to be there in person. But no one had music lovers desperate to spend their hard-earned dollars and show off their exquisite fashion quite like Beyoncé. After a five-year hiatus, the Grammy record holder announced her Renaissance World Tour, performing hits from her seventh studio album, Renaissance.

In July, Boardroom covered the lengths members of the Beyhive will go to see her in person. From separate savings accounts for the best tickets to flights out of the country to be one of the first to see her live, the limit does not exist when it comes to supporters going the distance for their favorites.

While Beyoncé is certain to break ticket sales records, fashion is the other phenomenon that has developed alongside her triumphant return to touring. When Renaissance dropped last July, listeners gravitated toward its groovy beats, exhilarating lyrics, and the natural feeling of going through a rebirth. The album cover depicted Beyoncé atop a glowing horse in a futuristic one-piece. Seemingly given everything and nothing to work with at the same time, fans quickly channeled their inner Renaissance alter ego to evoke main character energy for every stop.

Within days of the European leg of her tour, handmade ensembles emerged and well-known fashion influencers covered their social media pages with outfit inspirations. A simple browse through #RenaissanceTourOutfits on Instagram or TikTok opens a portal to endless possibilities.

Jalisia Jones, Jackie Jones, Kenaya Young, and Janaisia Jones arrive for the first of two concerts on Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Naturally, it didn’t take long for brands to also lean into the trend. Whether they see it as a marketing ploy or an avenue to attract an untapped demographic, 21Ninety reported in May that words like “metallic cowboy boots” rose 488% after the first night of the tour in Stockholm. Between desiring to be the first city to have “everybody on mute” during Energy to being featured on her website as one of the night’s best dressed, one Bey fan likened dressing for the Renaissance tour to one of fashion’s biggest nights.

“It was like the closest thing I think any of us will get to a Met Gala,” said Maggie Walsh, a Beyoncé fan since her Destiny’s Child days.

Marcedes Butler arrives early at FedEx Field for the first of two sold out concerts on Beyoncé’s record-breaking Renaissance tour. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A Washington, D.C. resident, Walsh traveled to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ to watch Beyoncé perform on the one-year anniversary of Renaissance. Walsh and a friend purchased floor tickets months prior to the show, costing $1,200 each. Walsh had originally purchased a jean jacket embroidered with Renaissance-era motifs to wear. As the date approached, the weather became less agreeable with black denim. Three weeks ahead of the trip, the digital media manager opted instead for leather shorts and a top that boasted an iconic phrase from her sixth studio album, Lemonade: “Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.”

If you’re actively paying attention, you’ll notice just how committed Beyoncé is to her wardrobe. In fact, she is so devoted that she dons a new ensemble at every stop. At the onset of each show, when she sings her chart-topping ballads, Beyoncé rises in an opulent gown, a dazzling bodysuit laced with crystals, or other carefully curated outfits.

Setting the standard for her audience, it’s clear those that attend Beyoncé shows are trendsetters themselves. The looks are innovative, flashy, and camp, much like the 90s house-inspired project that was Renaissance. Walsh noticed a sea of rhinestone-embellished cowgirl hats at MetLife, paired with costume jewelry and finished with over-the-knee boots and heels that defy gravity.

“It’s like they were about to hit the red carpet,” she added.

Angel Dao and Alyssa Erber arrive at FedEx Field for the first of two concerts on Beyoncé’s record-breaking Renaissance tour. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson / For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

You’d think that ensembles of such grandeur would prevent guests from truly moving their bodies. Quite the contrary, actually, with attendees voguing in the aisles, mirroring Bey’s high-energy dancers, and incessant waving in hopes that the star of the night takes notice. For an audience craving visuals from the undisputed GOAT of graphics, perhaps what we missed all along is that they are the visuals.

History in the Making

Because we’re nowhere near wrapping up the tour, it’s tough to gauge the economic impact of Beyoncé fashion. However, it’s clear retailers are forced to pivot their marketing approach, advertising pieces that might only get one wear, but that thousands will see. Etsy shops have monopolized the rhinestone cowboy hat marketplace, and Instagram ads are flooded with dupes of some of Beyoncé’s most iconic looks. According to a 2022 study by LendingTree, 32% of concertgoers are likely to spend more money on a new outfit. Expect that number to rise by the end of 2023.

For the woman who confidently sang, “It should cost a billion to look this good,” Beyoncé is certainly a woman of her word. Her wardrobe has exceeded expectations, with her creative consultants admitting that it takes 12 people and 700 hours to make one look. Rarely are the designers tagged on her personal Instagram, but Beyoncé’s many stylists happily share the masterminds behind the ensembles — all while conveniently evading the price. Because they are often custom-made, expect that price to be steep. However, average-looking garb would never be able to shine under the flashy lights that beam week by week in a new city. Maybe that’s Beyoncé’s allure. Secretive to her core with most other things, her wardrobe expenses naturally fall under the same category.

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When the Renaissance World Tour eventually concludes, we’ll be left with plenty of moments to last us until the next tour announcement. For the concert industry, it will have set a precedent for how to produce a show millions are willing to spend big on. For the European run, Billboard reports Beyoncé earned $154 million off of more than 1 million tickets sold, making it the biggest leg of any solo Beyoncé tour thus far. Should she continue at this pace, the North American portion would collect $264 million for 1.8 million tickets sold. Add in merch sales and other expenditures, and we could very well see one of the highest-grossing tours of all time.

Having attended other sold-out shows this summer, Walsh concluded this show to be one of her favorites, and worth every dollar spent ($2800, including transportation and merch).

“Listening to the song and everyone, it was like going to the best Beyoncé club for five hours because everyone was singing, everyone was dancing, everyone was there to have the time of their life,” she sad. “And she knew that and she always delivers.”

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About The Author
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi
Vinciane Ngomsi is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. She began her career in sports journalism with bylines at SB Nation, USA Today, and most recently Yahoo. She received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Truman State University, and when she's not watching old clips of Serena Williams' best matches, she is likely perfecting her signature chocolate chip cookie recipe or preparing a traditional Cameroonian meal.