Critics say nostalgia runs in twenty year cycles. Well, the comedy Austin Powers: Goldmember hit the big 2-0 mark this week and Beyoncs star turn as Foxxy Cleopatra hits all our Y2K-nostalgia pleasure points. Her fashion in the film is really a delightfully camp affair: metallic booty shorts, midriff jackets, big gold hoop earrings, and dangerously low-slung jeans with dramatic flared legs. Honoring the film’s anniversaryand Beyonc’s new album, Renaissance, releasing todaywhat much better than to revisit among the star’s most fashionable roles?
Foxxys character is really a pastiche of leading women in Blaxploitation filmsthe type of characters Hollywood legend Pam Grier made a name playing. It’s no real surprise then that Beyonc and Goldmember‘s production team specifically mined Grier’s fashion, while also flipping through vintage issues of Ebony, Jet, and Vogue for inspiration. When you begin with a name like Foxxy Cleopatra, you cant help but reference Pam Grier and that era. Goldmember was said to be occur 75, but there have been still plenty of 60s aesthetics,” Deena Appel, costume designer, told Vulture in a recent oral history of the film.
Ever the conceptual artist, Beyonc even tapped in to the character’s funky 70s wardrobe off-screen. One standout moment came when she rocked an afro throughout a Destiny’s Child concert in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The afro made an unofficial press tour, of sorts Bey rocking the do during an appearance on the video countdown show 106 & Park (R.I.P.) and on a Jay Leno-hosted The Tonight Show.
The undeniable showstopper moment for Beyonc’s Goldmember fashion era was included with the visual for Work It Out.” The Pharrell-produced track was featured on the Goldmember soundtrack and, for the video, Beyonc leaned right into a high-glam, roller-disco look. Featuring bedazzled jeans, a diamond encrusted hula hoop, and a slinky gold dress, the video is really as much a vision of 70s fashion since it is of 70s fashion adapted to early ’00s tastes.
After Goldmember, Beyonc largely abandoned the Blaxploitation star look and shifted to carving out an aesthetic firmly grounded in modern pop aesthetics resulting in a bevy of iconic fashion moments, like her Crazy in Love look. But we’ll remember you, Foxxy Cleopatra.