Of all the black female musicians, Rihanna has arguably made the biggest inroads in the luxury fashion space. After being the first ambassador of color tapped for Christian Dior in 2015, the singer went on to become the brand’s first ambassador ever to collaborate on product with the release of her frames last summer.
Then she upped those stakes this month announcing a charity based initiative that will see a portion of sales from Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminist” going to Rih’s charity. That’s not to count her other collaborations with brands like Manolo Blahnik.
Today in Paris, the Barbados native debuted her latest high mark with her Fall 2017 Puma collection.
From the invitation to the surrounding social media campaign, it was clear that this latest collection of Fenty was going to find it’s inspiration in the classroom. One countdown video pictured a blackboard covered with this recurring phrase in chalk: “I will not be late.” While the Anti performer couldn’t keep that promise for the National Library hosted show, she did have a few treats in store.
For themes, the collection mined high school cliques. There were the preppy kids with their plaid skirts, varsity cardigans and more. There were the jocks with their sports-minded garb. And of course, there were the punks with their crazily colored hair (similar to a recently released Rihanna shoot) and wardrobe of all black.
These threads turned up in a variety of ways like plaid skirts sliced for an extra bit of thigh exposure — as well as accompanying sex appeal and colorful tube socks. Jock duds came as slinky, skin-tight jersey dresses, also cut with a high-on-the-thigh slit. And the goths were there, all in black with baggy pants and oversized, studded fur coats, ready for the coming winds.
The money maker of a Fenty collection lies in the footwear. Rihanna’s designs sell out almost instantly upon release (especially if it’s a slide or a creeper) and come released in waves throughout the season. Of the styles that stuck out to us here were quite a few boot styles — there was a lace-up over-the-knee boot as well as a high boot in suede — and a high top sneaker in bubble gum pink, black and white. The latter option seemed to have a platform but as the models zipped by, using library tables as their runway, it was slightly unclear.
For references, something felt overwhelming like Raf Simons in the range. That’s no surprise; Rihanna herself is a huge fan of the designer wearing pieces from his own collection as well as pieces he designed back at Dior. Here those inspirations turned up in oversized puffer coats (Rihanna has been spotted out in one of Simons’s designs like this) as well as oversized, slightly weathered knits.
But reference is the name of the game in fashion. The point is to reference and personalize; to reference and move forward. Rih Rih did that, turning those inspirations sexy like when she sent Joan Smalls out in a cardigan turned high cut bikini and cutting tops so models’ shoulders were exposed. These were feminine takes on characteristics of the performer herself and of the look her fans would prefer to a more masculine based Simons collection. Brava Rihanna, school is in session indeed.