Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Words by Angelica Cueva
What do you do when you are a huge music and fashion fan and love all things live performances?
You set your alarm for 3am, because Creative Director of BALMAIN Olivier Rousteing together with Global Stylist Marni Senofonte are taking over Instagram Live direct from America and Paris to discuss the most insane stage performances in history – designing and dressing BEYONCÉ for Coachella 2018.
The anniversary sparked the conversation – streaming live on Instagram for all of us to casually join in. So, 4 years on and they are both still buzzing from this total experience. Who is OLIVIER and MARANI? First name basis already, the conversation was so authentic and casual, I felt I was sitting across from them both, even though I was in the dark wrapped in a blanket from my home in Sydney. Marni was in sunny Los Angeles, what looked like her beautiful manicured garden, and Olivier in France, well of coarse under a soft light extenuating his best angels.
WHO is OLIVIER ROUSTEING? He is the most sought out designers of our times, Creative Director for Luxury fashion house BALMAIN who designs and makes custom and ready to wear collections for A-list models and actors including a string of musicians. Olivier has been captured rubbing shoulders with every celebrity in his creations from a fashion campaign to a red-carpet event.
MARNI X (Senofante) is a vibrant fashion stylist that is in the core of Beyoncé’s style team, amongst reinventing models like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner in the fast-paced digital world.
I was absolutely in awe to hear Marni’s creative journey, from starting on the shop floor at her local Versace store assisting Norma Kamali and touring with Salt-N-Pepa leading right through to being a central player in creating the looks for Beyoncé in the Lemonade World Tour, The Iconic Black Panther homage at the Superbowl, the pregnancy reveal on Instagram (that broke the internet), Formation, and todays discussion - Coachella aka ‘Beychella’ Performance.
I set my alarm and woke up at 3am to go live to catch the conversation with these two creatives, and it did not disappoint! A casual conversation but explosive passion you feel between these two, describing the creative process from start to finish.
They talked us through the journey they both experienced producing the vision Beyoncé had archived in her memory and been brewing conceptually while pregnant. Because if you didn’t know Beyoncé was due to perform at Coachella the previous year but fell pregnant.
I loved hearing how all the shoes for the performers arrived at 3pm and needed fast track convincing at DHL to get them out for a 9pm performance! Fans that had tuned in had the power to send through their questions, Olivier and Marni were so candid throughout, and left no question unasked. A submitted question was “What Terrified them throughout the experience?”. They laughed and both said “the whole thing!” continued by, “the crown falling off, the cape too long and tripping on it, the entire wardrobe swap of colours from yellow to pink, meshed dress to sequins for second act.” – a lot to think about to ensure the performance was faultless really.
A few “I didn’t know that” and “didn’t mention this” between them. That also shined the light on homage Beyoncé likes to create. On this occasion homage to colleges and universities – but clearly the comments via Coachella guests repeatedly applauding and cheering in support of HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). The concept vibe created was sweatshirts and varsity logos, new version of the band to be fresh. Hot pink is the new yellow.
They continued to discuss tactics they needed to master to bring it all together. The Balmain team sketching, creating and sending more and more samples. The dancer’s hair and braids had to be weaved and threaded through the barrette hats to stay on due to movement, neck-pieces attached to body suits, the list goes on. The embroidery and beading process, so intricate that they had to be light enough so it wouldn’t move around once set to costume.
Amongst it all it was insane to hear that Balmain and the team were working simultaneously with a collection for Fashion Week only days away, whilst still producing costumes for all 120 dancers and musicians and 6 costumes change for Beyoncé! And Oliver doesn’t even flinch, “I love it! Its fashion we just get on with it!”.
Marni showed some sketches from the Balmain team and photographs of hologram capes and leotards, diamantes on long boots. At one point she mentioned a scrap book for each other with ideas for the performance, something I would love to see in future.
If I haven’t made it clear enough, both Olivier and Marni are both very passionate people and very evident, have much respect for the industry, their craft and love for each other. They complement each other. Marni explains, she always felt at ease during the process with Olivier due to his calm nature, never overwhelmed.
And what did they learn from each other? Simple, “the impossible is possible!” says Marni. Oliver mentioned the project made him rebelieve in fashion and his passions for the Industry.
Part 2 of the conversation with Olivier and Marni will be hosted on the Balmain Instagram in the coming weeks.