Can Workout Gear REALLY Be Empowering? Beyoncé Thinks So

Elle just dropped its cover story with Beyoncé — you know, the “superstar in chief,” as she’s dubbed in the piece, who didn’t even do an interview for her Vogue cover last year. In addition to discussing her definition of feminism, her secrets to healthy self-perception, and the pain of childbirth, Queen Bey also philosophizes on her full-fledged fashion line, Ivy Park, which drops next week. (In case you need a copy of your own, the issue hits newsstands in select cities tomorrow, and will be available nationwide on April 19.)

Apparently, Bey worked on the line, which is a 50-50 joint venture with Topshop’s billionaire head honcho, Sir Philip Green, for years. “We had countless meetings; we searched for and auditioned designers for months,” she said. Bey knew what she wanted from the get-go — “I presented [Green] with the idea, the mission statement, the purpose, the marketing strategy — all in the first meeting,” she told the glossy.
Photo: Courtesy of Paola Kudacki/ELLE.

As for that sense of purpose, it’s pretty ambitious for a slew of leggings and sports bras (oh, and the line's name is rife with meaning, ICYMI). The clothes are supposed to be more than just stylish stuff to sweat in — they’re meant to be anti-perfectionist, empowering, and also, they aim to fill a void in the activewear realm.

“I realized that there wasn’t really an athletic brand for women like myself or my dancers or friends,” the star told Elle. “Nothing aspirational for girls like my daughter. I thought of Ivy Park as an idyllic place for women like us.” The entire shoot is filled with Bey (and her backup dancers) decked out in the logo-heavy, sheer-paneled gear.
Photo: Courtesy of Paola Kudacki/ELLE.
In addition to scouring for the talent to design Ivy Park’s “custom technical fabrics” in a way that “tried to focus on pushing athletic wear further,” as Beyoncé describes the process, she was pretty selective design-wise, since so many years of practicing and performing means lots of time spent chilling in Spandex. “And because I’ve spent my life training and rehearsing, I was very particular about what I wanted,” she told Elle. “I’m sweating, I’m doing flips — so we designed a high-waist legging that’s flattering when you’re really moving around and pushing yourself.”

As for the empowering, you-do-you message behind Ivy Park, the star wants the line "to celebrate every woman and the body she’s in while always striving to be better.... For me, [Ivy Park is] the place that my drive comes from," she said. "I think we all have that place we go to when we need to fight through something, set our goals and accomplish them."
Photo: Courtesy of Paola Kudacki/ELLE.
Beyoncé also waxes poetic to writer Tamar Gottesman about the brand that Ivy Park cofounder Green built (and perhaps is most famous for). “I’ve been shopping at Topshop for probably 10 years now. It’s one of the only places where I can actually shop by myself. It makes me feel like a teenager,” she says.

Now that Ivy Park is (nearly) out at last, Bey just really wants you to start perspiring in it: “For me, it won’t be real until I see women at the gym, in the park, on the street wearing the collection, sweating in it, and loving it.”

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