It’s Ok to Wear Counterfeits as Long as You’re Beyonce

Beyonce’s new video for Formation is an assault on the senses firing politicised messages straight back atcha with the speed of a mitrailleuse. She stands atop a submerged New Orleans Police car (wearing a red Gucci shirt dress) like a revolutionary shaming the authorities following their slow reaction following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Likewise, she confronts America’s slave history as the imperious black queen of a racially inverted colonial South. Her disciples fight back in 80s washed out denim; a breakdancing kid challenges a wall of Feds in riot gear. The metaphors are as weighty as her layered tribal chokers – and they look heavy.

Beyonce name checks Givenchy in the lyrics but Gucci is honoured with the greatest visual tribute, albeit in an ironic way with faux GG-logo lycra wear worn by her troupe of dancers. The Italian luxury house is in the middle of a lawsuit against Chinese e-tailer Alibaba for selling counterfeit wear, but Formation’s parodical styling hasn’t ruffled any feathers at Gucci HQ, in fact quite the opposite: on the fashion house’s Instagram, a still from the video appears with the caption ‘ In an homage to #Gucci, @beyonceand her #Formation chorus wear GG inspired bodysuits”

This positive acknowledgement could potentially throw a spanner in the works for Gucci’s case against Alibaba – defence lawyers are always quick to sniff out the slightest whiff of hypocrisy to help them win a case. So while Beyonce’s shot her ammunition out as an assertion of her Creole roots, the ricochet may create a few unexpected surprises along the way. There’s already been backfire in the shape of a spat between the video’s director Melina Matsoukas and documentary filmmakers Abteen Bagheri and Chris Black who claim Matsoukas used footage from their short doc “That B.E.A.T.” without permission. Things could get nasty but then Bey did say she ‘came to slay’.

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