Style

Beyoncé’s Last Fashion Frontier

Has there ever been an artist who owned fashion — and owned as much fashion — as Beyoncé Knowles Carter? Though chances are slim that she will attend the Met Gala on Monday (she hasn’t graced the party since 2016), she is practically a Met Gala unto herself.

She wore about 148 looks on her Renaissance world tour alone. More than 60 in her film “Black Is King.” More than a dozen in the under-two-minutes teaser video for “I’m That Girl.” It has been both dazzling and groundbreaking to see her bend fashion to her will, bestowing the glowing crumbs of her attention on as wide a swath of designers as possible, while seemingly all of them clamor for her favor. Name a brand; she has worn it. Probably a custom version of it.

And yet for all that, despite winning a “fashion icon” award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America and having her own fashion line, Ivy Park, despite a high-fashion collaboration with Balmain, Beyoncé has not really changed how people dress. It may be counterintuitive, but generally she has seemed more interested in having fashion serve her, rather than serving fashion. Spreading her influence so widely has focused attention on no single name or aesthetic save her own.

Until now. With “Cowboy Carter,” finally, her fashion and her mission have become one and the same, and the effect is industry-shifting. Even more than Taylor Swift, her fellow diva of the moment, she has determined the look of the moment.

According to a spokeswoman for Lyst, the fashion search engine, Western-related product engagement is up 59 percent year-on-year for this quarter. “We’ve seen a 51 percent increase in searches for ‘cowboy boots,’ a 31 percent increase in searches for ‘Levi’s jeans’ since this song and the album dropped and a 57 percent increase featuring the keyword ‘cowboy,’” she said. Searches for Ganni Western boots alone grew 224 percent between March and April, and searches for Y project Western jeans were up 610 percent.

Sure, cowboys have been edging their way into popular culture ever since Lil Nas X sang “Old Town Road,” “Yellowstone” became a hit and Bella Hadid started dating a rodeo star. Ralph Lauren has been embracing the Hollywood West almost since he began.

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