Robyn Fenty, or the artist formerly known as Rihanna (WHERE IS THE ALBUM?), just debuted her most recent ready-to-wear lingerie line under Savage X Fenty. Ironically, in her absence she has been everywhere. In the past few years, she’s gone from international popstar to absolute queen of all things, adding some notable acting roles in the all-femme lineup of Oceans 8 and in Guava Island, in which she starred alongside the only other artist who could match her absolute musical inaccessibility, Donald Glover. Rihanna has quite a bit of a background in the field, having previously performed, and immediately after, stolen the entire event at Victoria Secret’s 2012 Angels Show. After her beauty line made an astonishing reported $500 million in its first full year of operation, her mogul status has only set to expand.
Returning with the full sponsorship of LVMH, the parent brand of historic houses like Celine, Louis Vuitton and Dior, Fenty is reinvigorating the sector. It goes to show the prowess of Rihanna, that even while filming, performing and acting, adding designer to the resume seems like a natural step. Her appointment however, is by no means a regular occasion. The Business of Fashion reports, “Fenty is the first fashion brand launched from scratch by LVMH since Christian Lacroix was founded in 1987.” Additionally, this is the first time a woman of color has been at the helm of an LVMH brand in history. It is monumental for the fashion industry, and along with similar developments in Virgil Abloh’s tenure at Louis Vuitton and Kerby Jean Raymond with Pyer Moss, is just another step for people of color within fashion.
But this isn’t the only means by which Rihanna is changing the game. The show featured extravagant interpolations of lace, sheer, mesh and nets, in colors that spanned the entire color wheel. It all retained a playful mood, soundtracked to Halsey, DJ Khaled and more. Much like her cosmetic line, Fenty Beauty, which is heralded for including shades of makeup that correspond to the many complexions of skin, she included models of various different complexions in her lineup, as well as models of different body types, in efforts to be more transparent with representation and diversity in casting. At the end of the day, a fashion show is supposed to be indicative of the designer, and in her show, Rihanna delineated a dedication to the display of all, an inclusive message heard around the industry. Similar brands, like Victoria Secret, have come under fire recently and in the past because of their reluctance to showcase models of color, as well as their absolute denial of showing plus size models, and the Fenty show battles these norms of the industry. By adding more color and incorporating people of different backgrounds, it opens the door for unique stories to be told. Bringing people of more diverse backgrounds into the fold has been one of the longest standing issues in fashion, and it remains to be seen across the board at major houses.
In an industry dominated by designers who maintain these conventions of old, a complete outsider is doing her part to redesign how we think of models, how we think of designers and how we think of the relationship between ourselves and our clothing. There were elderly models. There were trans models. There were plus size models. But the fact is, they were all models. Regardless of shape, age, gender, disposition, anything, they all came out and danced, sang and enjoyed themselves in the clothes that made them look good. And that’s all it comes down to. Enjoying yourself in clothes that make you look and feel as good as you want to.
A short movie related to the fashion show is now streaming on Amazon Prime and VALLEY is tuning in. You should too.