Queen B-ikinis

With Beyonce revealed as the face of H&M’s ‘high summer’ campaign, reflects on the superstar’s recent run-ins with the media

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Whilst there’s some definite truth to the old showbiz adage that ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, it’s safe to say that, so far, 2013 has been a bit of an iffy year press-wise for superstar Beyoncé.

First, there was her Superbowl half-time concert. Whilst there’s no doubting that she smashed her performance out of the park, in this age of internet meme culture the still images captured of her stage alter-ego ‘Sasha Fierce’ looking rather, well, fierce unsurprisingly found their way online. Given the average attention span of the Internet (about as long as a vaguely amusing GIF), this shouldn’t have been an issue. Until, that is, an over-zealous publicist requested that the offending images be removed from the site BuzzFeed, prompting the “unflattering” images to go viral.

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Then there was Queen B and her equally famous rap star husband Jay Z’s recent attempt to get the name of their baby daughter ‘Blue Ivy Carter’ trademarked. Strange names given by celebrities to their helpless offspring have become the norm, but actively seeking to claim exclusive rights to one such name is weird, even by uber-celeb standards.

But what really got to me was Beyonce’s decision to name her tour, starting today in Serbia, ‘The Mrs Carter Tour’. Whilst I consider myself a card-carrying feminist, for me personally the jury is still out on how I square myself with marriage and all its patriarchal trappings. Being ‘given away’ by your father, taking your beloveds name…whilst in theory it’s a big feminist no-no, culturally it’s all seen as rather romantic. So, not wanting to judge another sister I held my tongue. Or rather, I did, until I realised that Mr Carter has called his own tour ‘Legends of the Summer’. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable to see such a public power couple define themselves as ‘Wife!’ and ‘Legend!’ in such a gender-binary fashion.

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Anyway, the actual fashion point to this column (there is some fashion, I promise!), is that today I had some of my faith in Mrs C restored when I saw the ad campaign for her latest collaboration with affordable high street brand H&M. Shot in the Bahama’s by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the images are lushly super-saturated, sunshine, acid-bright colours and tropical vibes; and cocktail of summer sensuality that is almost enough to make you completely forget the convoluted tie-in of their purpose to show “Beyoncé as Mrs Carter in H&M”.

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Sure, these images have been rigidly controlled every step of the way (probably by the same enthusiastic publicist), but Beyoncé looks out-of-control fabulous and surprisingly natural for a super star worth $300 million. It’s refreshing to see a bikini shoot with a model slash icon that actually looks like she eats. Beyoncé’s body is jaw dropping, but it looks gym-honed, not starved. Plus, her hair isn’t a ridiculous shiny mass of coiffed perfection; I’m sure that undone I-just-got-out-the-sea look took a team of stylists hours to achieve, but it really does look like my hair when I’ve been lounging on a beach with little regard to spray-in conditioner or sun damage.

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As for the bikini’s, I personally can’t wait for them to hit the shelves in May. H&M’s head of design Ann-Sofie Jonasson has gone on record to the Telegraph saying that Beyoncé herself had some “input” in designing the pieces. Whilst I tend to remain sceptical of purported levels of involvement when it comes to celebrity collaborations, if Bey did have something to do with the designs then I applaud her from the bottom of my bikini-starved heart. The two-pieces in the images so far appear to steer well clear of the risk-of-dodgy-tanline-and-indecent-exposure zone that many bikini’s from both high street and designer retailers have entered these past few seasons.

All Press Photos courtesy of H&M.

All Press Photos courtesy of H&M.

The zingy yellow is my personal choice, combining my new favourite colour with a cut that looks like it will flatter rather than scorn my own decidedly un-fashion cup size. If you’re not blessed/cursed with an unruly pair, then the sea-green tie-dye number is a stunning choice. The fringed number would suit any shape and size, and the cut on all the bottoms looks to be a sexy Brazilian style that works for everyone. Long live Queen B and her bikini’s.

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