Beyoncé was everywhere during New York Fashion Week. Well, her voice at least.
While there were plenty of trends emerging throughout the week—Rapunzel-length hair, skirts over pants, monochromatic styling—perhaps the biggest and most zeitgeist-y did not involve clothes at all. It was more of a soundtrack, a soundscape, and a mood all rolled into one. Beyoncé’s ballroom-inspired album, Renaissance.
Tracks from the singer’s latest album blared out at shows across the city. This is not too surprising for a major musician like Beyoncé, who can sell out a stadium in seconds, but her wide-ranging presence throughout the week did feel notable. Tia Adeola played “Heated” during her show. LaQuan Smith played “Thique” and “Pure/Honey.” Frederick Anderson closed out his show with “Break My Soul.” For Opening Ceremony’s 20th anniversary blowout, every other song seemed to be from Renaissance (with a few older tracks from Beyoncé’s discography thrown into the mix as well). Kevin Aviance, whose thunderous voice appears on the magnum opus as a sample, even performed during OC’s grand affair midway through, providing bona fide vogue glamor. And love for the top-charting album was not limited to designers of color. Tommy Hilfiger, who presented his collection during a rainstorm in Brooklyn, included at least four tracks.
“I think you can feel a lot of the pent-up energy and the need for collective and individual joy that this album brings to people,” says Oscar Nuñez, who DJ’d at the Opening Ceremony party. He played “Alien Superstar” and “Heated” during his sets. In Nuñez’s opinion, the album matches up to the joyous and triumphant energy that dominated NYFW this season, after nearly two years of COVID restrictions and, consequently, more muted—and masked-up—shows.
“We’ve been through a lot in the last two years, and we’re still going through it,” says Nuñez, who is also a cofounder of Papi Juice, a collective that throws parties for QTPOCs. “So I feel like this album is a great, joyful release for a lot of us, especially when we get to experience it together.”
Designer Frederick Anderson says “Break My Soul”—the lead track from Renaissance—played a crucial role in the creation process of his spring collection—by happenstance or osmosis. “Renaissance was on constant repeat as I designed, styled, and prepared spring 2023,” the designer says. The result: looser and sexier tailoring on the signature crochet tops and slit dresses that Anderson sent out on the runway. To Anderson, the inspirational tracks aligns with the times. “‘Break my Soul’ is the perfect song—anthem really—at the perfect moment,” he says. “As we all start a new ‘post-COVID’ life in a changed world that still continues to surprise us daily. Throw whatever you want at me, I can take it. You cannot and won’t break my soul!”
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