Beyonce Knowles graces the cover of Harper’s Bazaar UK September 2011 wearing Gucci on the newstand cover and Armani Privé on the subscriber cover.

You may remember we saw Beyonce on this photoshoot in Paris back in April and that Ana de la Reguera wore this Gucci Fall 2011 gown on the red carpet just last week.

Beyonce’s smoldering editorial, which was shot by Alexi Lubomirski, sees her wearing Azzedine Alaïa, Armani Privé and Lanvin inside the Ritz Hotel Paris.

In the ‘Strictly Sexy’ issue Beyonce talks about the next chapter of her life and how turning 30 will be such a pivotal moment as she ‘transitions as a woman’.

Check out the behind the scene video of Beyonce’s shoot on Harper’s Bazaar’s UK website.

The full feature appears in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK which is on sale Saturday 6th August, but you can read a few extracts from her interview below, plus some pictures from her editorial.

On turning 30 in September: “This is such a pivotal moment in my life! I’m transitioning as a woman, and I’m finally able to express myself as I am.”

On recently learning about the ‘Saturn return’, the supposed astrological wake-up call: “I read about it recently and it was chilling because I’m becoming more of myself, and I can’t wait to start the next chapter…”

On eavesdropping on people’s conversations at her mother’s beauty salon: “I loved listening to people’s problems. It was like a sanctuary for those women. It was a place you didn’t bring your children, and your husbands weren’t there.”

On women’s friendships: “I’m afraid when women never hang around with other women. That’s a little scary to me – why is that?”

On being called a feminist: “I don’t really feel that it’s necessary to define it. It’s just something that’s kind of natural for me, and I feel like…you know…it’s, like, what I live for. I need to find a catchy new word for ‘feminism’, right? Like ‘bootylicious’…”

On performing ‘Irreplaceable’ in Egypt: “There were a lot of women in the audience in burkas. They were singing along to ‘Irreplaceable’ – it was amazing! Some of the men got really upset! They were like to their women, ‘We have to get you out of here!’….“I guess some of them (men) do get annoyed. But I never want to do ‘the banner thing’.”

On collaborating with Lady Gaga in ‘Telephone’: “She’s not afraid. I love that. She wanted me to do something crazy, and so I just rolled with it. I told Gaga I thought I should have a honey bun. It’s the worst food you could eat, but it is the best thing for me because I haven’t had one since I was a kid.”

On Gwyneth Paltrow: “She pushes her boundaries all the time. You go to her house and she makes you feel like you never want to go home. She is what I strive to be one day.”

Gwyneth Paltrow on Beyoncé: “She is what it means to be a superstar. No one else can sing and dance like that, while having humour and genuine bursting sweetness. She has her own recipe for it…I wanted my own character (Gwyneth has a musical role in Country Strong), to have some of that mega-wattage. So I studied B. She was my homework.”

Gwyneth Paltrow on her and husband Chris Martin’s friendship with Beyoncé & Jay Z: “We have very similar values. We have also been able to become each other’s support systems over the years, as none of us needs anything from the other.”

Armani Privé

Azzedine Alaïa

Lanvin

Credit: Alexi Lubomirski, Pictures as courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK