Beyoncé’s High-Heeled Bapestas – The full story
A new clip of Beyonce currently trending on Twitter. She’s dressed up like a Third Ward princess and speaking to the camera about her very 2000s footwear: “These shoes are Bapes, and we got them specially made. These are the only high-heel Bapes,” she says proudly.
The clip was in 2005. Beyoncé was in between filming Dreamgirls, gearing up for the release of The Pink Panther, and grinding in a video shoot with Hype Williams for “Check on It.” The song was suppose to be on The Pink Panther soundtrack—it was rejected from the tracklist at the last minute—and Beyoncé chose a pink-themed video. She tasked her mother, Miss Tina Lawson, and her then-stylist, Ty Hunter, with getting pink outfits for each character she showed in the video.
This was when millennial pink wasn’t a thing. “You couldn’t find pink in nobody’s showroom or store, so a lot of the stuff had to be made,” says Hunter. This was also when Beyoncé allowed external parties to film and interview her, and MTV captured behind-the-scenes. Moments from the shoot on Making the Video, the now-defunct series that followed popping artists from the early aughts when big music video budgets existed.
We’ve talked to Bape, and they confirmed that to their best Knowledge, they are the only ‘Bapestas” with a heel. But the company had no relation with them.
It was Hunter who bought the pink patent leather “Bapestas’ at a store before deciding to add heels to them. He was inspired by the Manolo Blahnik Timbs Beyoncé wore in the “03 Bonnie and Clyde” video.
“I thought those boots were the coolest thing. They were so sexy,” says Hunter, who worked on styling that video with June Ambrose. “And I took the sneakers to Miss Tina and said, ‘These would be cool if they had a heel,’ and she said, ‘Give it a try.’ This is before the sneaker tennis shoe or the sneaker heel had even hit.”
Hunter calls Hymie Zelaya, who was the arranger of tDestiny’s Child’s costumes, for a heavy-duty glue he used to customize shoes. He took all night constructing them, removing the top of the sneakers for a more feminine silhouette and then putting a pink patent leather heel at the sole.
“They had to be sturdy because she was doing a lot of bopping around in them,” says Hunter, . Who also made the fringe shoes Beyoncé wore in the “Run the World (Girls)” video. “Everybody loved them.”
But where are the shoes now? Hunter isn’t presise. He was #tagged in the video trending on Twitter and was about detailing the story. On Instagram, but didn’t get to it.
“I could truly say that I never did interviews or anything to tell anyone I made the shoe. Back in the day, I was running away from journalists and stuff like that,” says Hunter. “I was going to post the story on Instagram, but then life happened and I saved it. Then I got home and my publicist was like, ‘Oh, Complex wants to talk to you about those Bape heels. Beyoncé wore,’ and I’m like, ‘Wow, this is so crazy how God works.’”