Two days before I find myself here, at Beyoncé’s home, we had convened in West Hollywood with photographer Rafael Pavarotti to make a fashion story. New music is coming – a thrilling abundance of it, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. In what might be her most ambitious musical project to date, the culture-shifting, Grammy-dominating Queen Bee of all she surveys has trained her considerable artillery on America’s musical soundscape of the late 20th century. Do I need to add there is also a little mystery at play?
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, a writer of excellent and lengthy texts, had taken to messaging me as we brainstormed the direction of her Vogue shoot together. A fashion fantasia spun from the tropes of club life during the last century’s final quarter. Mirror balls, light boxes, headdresses? Of course. A horse on the dance floor? Certainly. A motorcycle for her to adorn in Junya Watanabe leathers and Harris Reed & Roker boots? Why not. B wanted to play with fashion like never before, and as we swapped references (from the 1990s garage scene to ’80s excess), talked hair and beauty, and got to know her team, a vision of glittering retro-futurism began to take shape.