You only get to launch a clothing line once. Unless you’re Beyoncé, in which case you can reinvent your brand as many times as you want, to glorious effect.
Beyoncé announced the latest iteration of Ivy Park this week, via a spree of glossy advertisements featuring herself and some well-placed friends. The superstar’s second go-around of her athleisure line, which first dropped to much fanfare in 2016, was announced last April.
Now, with the help of Adidas, her adoring Bey Hive, and Reese Witherspoon (stay with me here), the multi-hyphenate has released the first glimpse of what her clothing will look like. The past life of Ivy Park, which was created with Topshop, may not have been entirely Beyoncé, but its renaissance absolutely is.
To recap: Ivy Park debuted four years ago, named in part for Beyoncé’s first child, Blue Ivy. Her assortment of logo-fied, mostly-mesh bodysuits, leggings, and tops have been copied to death in the years since, but the line was lauded at the time for injecting life into the athleisure category, which began as and still is to some extent a clothing genre designed for rich white women.
After Topshop boss Sir Philip Green, who helped Beyoncé dream up the line, was exposed as a serial sexual harasser in a bevy of exposés, the star bought back her own company. The hugely symbolic move made Beyoncé the first black woman to own an athleisure line. So now she is back, designing on her own terms, for a collection out January 18.
This means, as images posted to Bey’s Instagram account show, outfits that capture not just an audience’s attention, but imagination, too. Sure, leotards that show butt cleavage can be sexy, but a maroon number with an orange stripe becomes its own type of armor, a militaristic style reminiscent of the black leotard and harness Beyoncé wore for her groundbreaking Super Bowl cameo.
These pieces subvert the cliché of athleisure, which the mere mortals among us take to mean simply leggings we wear to grocery shop. Spare Beyoncé that standard Instagram model uniform—instead, she’s selling a neon orange ruched jumpsuit, which comes (naturally) with a matching billowing cape, just waiting at attention for a wind fan.
The clothing may not be practical, especially on a treadmill—indeed, the only activity appropriate to partake in while wearing a long, pleated windbreaker dress is running around the English countryside à la Kate Bush in the “Wuthering Heights” music video. But the pieces encapsulate the true reason celebrities start their own clothing line (well, other than to make boatloads of money). These outfits give buyers a sliver of connection to Beyoncé, a way to be one step closer to the pop idol.
It’s an opportunity delicious even to Reese Witherspoon, who gamely unboxed her Ivy Park swag on Instagram. (Witherspoon and Beyoncé reportedly struck up a friendship at the Golden Globes, when the actress asked Bey for a glass of champagne.)
Witherspoon goofily danced in leggings and a sweatshirt, and somewhat resembled a Ghostbuster in a striped jumpsuit. But the message is clear: anyone can be Beyoncé—that means you too.