Beyonce's stylist Zerina Akers didn't want to shy away from leopard print for Black is King.
The singer's critically-acclaimed visual album serves as a companion to her movie soundtrack, The Lion King: The Gift, and features custom pieces from fashion houses such as Valentino, Burberry, and Erdem.
And Zerina said she wanted the Lemonade hitmaker to embrace animal print by dressing her in a Valentino Haute Couture embroidered leopard cape and jumpsuit, designed by creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli.
"I wanted to create leopard and animal-print ensembles that spoke to the real woman while trying to strip away some of that fear of wearing animal print," she told The Hollywood Reporter. "A lot of people shy away from it."
The stylist was also determined to have the outfits represent Black culture, and bring objects from African history into the modern day in an effort to educate viewers.
"(We also) utilised historical references, playing with opulence, and pulling some of these tribal references, the use of cowrie shells and things like that," Zerina added. "Going back to when cowrie shells were treated as currency in Africa and bringing that into this opulent space by wearing it on a hat, on a headpiece, on a belt so that it’s present and represented. It was just a phenomenal, phenomenal video to work on."
She wanted to start a positive conversation about Black people and wealth with the stunning visuals she helped create for Black is King.
"I wanted to take these stereotypes that are often portrayed with Black people, whether it be of African descent or in the diaspora, of how we represent luxury and how we project luxury and opulence," she explained. "Wealth looks very different in black and white, and it really ties back to the decadence in many African cultures."
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