Behind The Scenes With Beyonce’s Bodysuits, Poofy Sleeves and more…As an A List Seamstress, I was asked to help organize a local sewing crew to bring in on Beyonce Formation World Tour Rehearsal month at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL to alter costumes for the tour. It took a massive crew about a week and 30 some trucks to get the epic 2 million dollar stage up and running. The stage itself is THE most complex I’ve ever seen. It had two giant monoliths in the center that rotated, opened and closed and a lower B stage that filled with water that they all danced in.
Every night the dancers would run through various parts of the show in costume with a stand in for Beyonce, while she watched from a tent to critique the performance.
There were literally millions of dollars in costumes and shoes which were guarded 24/7. We were told by her longtime crew that this show had some unique ways of doing things in regard to costuming.
Typically they would get an epic piece custom made for Beyonce from a design house like Balmain, Gucci Ghost or DSquared2 for example and then a few dozen yards of matching fabric, which they would use to have matching costumes designed and fabricated for her 21 dancers.
We were told there will only two sets of costumes that would remain constant through out the tour, which included my favorite, the DSquared2 Black Victorian Capes with the large brimmed hats for the opening number paired with a shear lacy printed nude mesh bodysuit.
The other constant look hasn’t been revealed yet, so I’m going to keep that one under my hat! There were only 5 looks revealed in Miami on 4/27, so I would expect a few more to surface in Tampa on 4/29.
There were at least 12 sets of costumes for the tour that we were dealing with, of those 8 would need to be chosen for her first Miami tour date, but what they wore on a daily show basis could vary from one date to the next.
Hundreds of boxes of shoes lined one part of the hallway just outside the dancers dressing room. Most were high to very high heels and boots including the tippy toe ballet style heels. Insane to walk in, let alone dance!!
There were tables set up in the hallway, where her design team would gather. Every day, they’d discuss the designs pinned up on several large boards covered in dozens of designer drawings of costumes that were being delivered daily by the truck load.
It was their task to organize and present each look to Beyonce and sort out which of the dozens of costume looks they would focus on.
Dailey the dancers would come in and try things on, they’d take group photos of each look, which usually had some variations in design within each style and add all the photos to the mix.
After the fittings, the costumes would get handed over to the seamstress team for alterations, which included everything from being taken in, having parts removed, adding gussets to convert fashion to dance wear, replacing one part with another, making them quick changeable and sew on and sew on.
We knew we were working on labeled Bodysuits by Balmain, Capes by DSquared2 and custom fabrics from Gucci. It was hard not to cringe when you were being asked to tear apart a silk and lace bodysuit that was probably so insanely damn expensive, I didn’t even want to know the price!
We got to meet Dean and Dan Caten, the twin designers from DSquared2, who stopped by to check on their designs. They were super nice and dressed alike.
Every now and again Beyonce’s daughter Blue Ivy would wander into the sewing room to see what we were doing. Someone was always hot on her heals. You could hear her giggle as she rode her bike up and down the hallways. From time to time, you’d see her whiz by the doorway and wave from an office chair being towed by a sweet older lady who was often with her. She was adorable and you could tell how much she enjoyed wearing her collection of Disney princess dresses.
All in all, this was definitely not the standard operating procedure I was used to when working on concert tours like this. They definitely had a different and unique way of doing things.
Beyonce has become known for setting trend and blazing a trail that her many loyal fans will follow. In my humble opinion, I salute the stand she repeated takes for all of womankind. She’s outspoken and controversial, a girl after my own heart and like we all should be. If she were a man, no one would either notice or care. The world is watching. Those are tough shoes to fill. Kill it girl.