NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 12, 2016
by CHIOMA NNADI
After the Yeezy extravaganza at Madison Square Garden yesterday, the next hot celebrity ticket of the week—Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma debut—was a relatively subdued and intimate affair. There was no art installation, no cast of thousands, and the only reason the show was held up by 15 minutes was because Rihanna’s pal, supermodel Naomi Campbell, was running late. Not that the Barbadian superstar is known for being timely herself: The long wait for her new album release left fans wondering if Anti would ever come out at all.
When it comes to tapping into her fashion instincts though, it’s clear that Rihanna moves at lightning speed, never second-guessing herself, even when her most daring looks are paprazzi’d from all angles. Those witchy senses seemed to guide her in her debut tonight. Lexi Boling, whose off-duty look has made her something of a street style rabble-rouser in her own right, was the first out on the runway, wearing a hoodie-cum-dress with dramatic proportions and striking thigh-high boxing boots. Other distinctive bad-gal tropes came through in the outerwear, and there were several compelling iterations of the classic bomber—a jacket that has surely usurped the biker in a rebel’s wardrobe—including an off-the-shoulder version worn by Ruth Bell with a pair of spindly sneaker-stiletto boots. “If the Addams Family went to the gym, this is what they would wear,” said Rihanna backstage after the show, sporting a freshly cropped black bob that would make Wednesday Addams green with envy.
Overall, the collection had less to do with athlesiure and more with the kind of subversive streetwear rumblings that have been coursing through fashion lately. “I’m inspired by attitude more than anything,” said Rihanna. “Literally from my album to my collection, everything has been stemming from what makes me feel something, what moves me.” Of course, Rihanna has attitude in spades. She has never been afraid to take a risk on a new designer or styling trick in her wardrobe; in fact, if there’s anyone who could pull off both the women’s and the men’s looks here, it’s Rihanna.
In that sense, the clothes synthesized the trends driving a disruptive streak on the runways—not new, per se, but right now. And you could argue that sneaker culture has upended the very notion of an It shoe, given the prices that certain styles fetch on the resale market. Rihanna’s fans will be most eager to get their hands on the shoes, which ran the gamut from wedged stompers to spacey laceless booties, and kicks will be available as soon as the end of next month for less than the price of her sellout creepers. If the heels that Rihanna wore to take her bow are any indication, though, the odds on a stiletto revival just got a little bit higher.