Hours before Will Smith slapped Chris Rock, Beyoncé delivered the first big moment of the night at the Oscars. The singer opened the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday with her highest-profile TV performance in nearly two years. Beyoncé has transformed a tennis court in Compton, Calif. (where tennis greats Venus and Serena Williams trained as children) into a neon yellow and black pride tableau.
She sang “Be Alive,” her first Oscar-nominated song, an anthem featured in “King Richard,” a biopic centered on the Williams sisters’ father. Beyoncé wore a tennis ball yellow feather dress, paired with elbow-length gloves and a crystal garter. She was surrounded by dozens of dancers and an orchestra in vibrant neon yellow looks.
Beyoncé’s dress immediately went viral. (“Beyoncé looking like a high fashion tennis ball is amazing,” one viewer tweeted.)
The designer behind one of the most talked about looks last night? David Koma, who lives in London and was the creative director of fashion house Mugler from 2013 to 2017. He also has his own eponymous line.
Mr. Koma has long been a go-to for Beyoncé. The singer first wore a dress by Mr. Koma, 36, in 2009 for the MTV Europe Music Awards, which was taken from his Central Saint Martins graduate collection.
Mr. Koma said he received a personal invitation to one of his concerts soon after, where he met the singer. Since then, Beyoncé has worn a number of her designs on and off the stage, including a sleek, leotard-adjacent creation featured in the Mrs. Carter Show World Tour, which began in 2013, and a glittery Brooklyn Nets look last year. .
“I was so happy to see her on stage,” Mr Koma said on Monday, speaking by phone from London. The designer, who is Georgian, said Beyoncé first contacted him about last night’s performance about a month ago. (The singer’s performance wasn’t officially announced until days before the ceremony.)
“The color was the first thing we decided to go for,” Mr. Koma said. “Then it was more about the silhouette and what the dress was supposed to look like. We combined looks from two collections that I did. One was the fall collection that we just showed, and the other was the spring collection that I presented on the Olympic swimming pool designed by Zaha Hadid.
Her designs have also been worn by Dua Lipa, Anne Hathaway and Scarlett Johansson. Mr. Koma worked with stylist Marni Senofonte on last night’s look. Once the details were determined, Koma said, building the dress only took a few days.
The eye-catching design is rooted in technical expertise. “The main thing about this dress is the material,” Mr. Koma said. “It’s made of these recycled transparent sequins that we have. And it drapes incredibly beautifully. He said his goal was to give a feel of “deconstructed glamour” to the singer, who has played the role of “Sasha Fierce”, his brash alter-ego, in the past.
This is not the first time that Mr. Koma has been inspired by tennis, which he has been playing since he was 3 years old. A number of looks featured in her Spring 2021 collection last year were inspired by sports.
“Over the years I have worked with many different tennis players,” Mr Koma said, noting the “strength” and “power” of the sport. “How can this not be inspiring?” he said.