As we all know Beyoncé is an incomparable shape-shifter, an entertainer who, over the course of her career, has moved from one persona to the next through the transformative power of costumes. From her signature leotard-clad Sasha Fierce look to the turn-of-the-century Southern belle styles she wears in the video for “Formation,” clothes are a conduit for her provocative messages and allow her to fully embody a range of characters.
And with the premiere of her just-released visual album Lemonade tonight the performer is in rare form. Throughout the hour-long feature that debuted on HBO, we find Beyoncé picking up the role of a host of new and wildly stylish women who trace her matrilineal roots from New Orleans to Texas.
Mitigating the woes of a broken family, heartbreak, and perhaps even marital issues of her own, Beyoncé’s identity is fractured. As a woman scorned, the buxom beauty slips into a canary yellow ruffled gown and wields a baseball bat as she tears through a car-lined street. Smashing windows of vintage El Dorados as passersby look on with awe, she recalls a modern-day Carmen Jones, finding joy in wreaking havoc.
She later sings the tale of a shrewd harlot who “cries Monday through Friday” and works the pole “Friday through Sunday,” looking every bit the part in a white high-neck lace frilled bodysuit. Bey cuts an equally smoldering figure stalking the pavement of a deserted parking lot dressed in a Hood By Air floor-length fur coat, Yeezy crop top, and matching leggings, a sankofa necklace bouncing off her chest as she bemoans her cheating lover. Rapping over Jack White’s throttling drums, she has style and attitude in spades.