Chromat Only Had 4 Hours To Make Beyonce's VMA Performance Masks
But if you did and wanted to know more about those face cages that her backup dancers were sporting during her rendition of "Haunted," you've definitely come to the right place. (Side note: Facial gear for backup dancers is definitely having a moment, right? See also: the mesh facemasks during Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora’s "Black Widow" performance.)
Bey's dancers were all sporting custom bustiers, sleeves, and face cages created by Brooklyn-based brand Chromat. If the name sounds familiar, it should: Becca McCharen, founder and designer of Chromat has previously worked with Beyonce for the On the Run tour and her show-stopping 2013 Super Bowl performance.
As we learn from Opening Ceremony's interview, Becca and team only had four hours to produce these pieces. "We got the call at 5 PM this Friday afternoon," she told OC. "We had four hours to make the masks before we overnighted them to L.A." Four hours sounds like a crazy short amount of time to produce looks for six dancers for such a high-profile performance, but when Beyonce calls, you answer. And you get it done.
If the thought of wearing bondage-inspired gear seems counterproductive to dancing naturally or Beyonce's empowerment as life statement set, consider this other interview given by McCharen to Opening Ceremony.
"I’m all about women’s liberation and women choosing what they want to wear and it not being dictated [to them] by fashion or trends. I guess it’s just harnessing that power and taking it for yourself; that’s what Chromat is all about. If you want to wear a corset, then you should, but obviously you don't want society telling you to wear a corset or crazy bras. It is just giving women that empowerment tool."
McCharen's statement is definitely on-brand with Beyonce's vision of female empowerment. In fact, the reclamation of constrictive body architecture like corsets is in step with what our feminist foremothers have been doing for years. The latest generation of third wave feminists have taken terms previously used to disparage women and turned them on their heads, creating SlutWalks around the world in order to create a safe environment for women and challenge preconceived notions about rape. Beyonce's repossession of a constricting symbol becomes even more powerful considering the themes of her Michael Jackson Video Vanguard performance: beauty, feminism, relationships, and motherhood.
Every part of her performance is so excruciatingly perfect and thought-out that a tiny detail such as face cages only adds to the impact of Beyonce's set. Now back to me watching it on repeat another 15 times.