Last night in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Rihanna staged the perfect lingerie runway show for Savage X Fenty. The singer launched her size-inclusive line of sexy underpinnings back in May, but this was the first time she showed it during New York Fashion Week, and she chose a high-impact format: A live performance on a runway that doubled as a stage.
The set was styled after a bio-dome, complete with a desert section, a hydroponic greenhouse, and rotating stages. Initially, it seemed like the models would come out and stand around in the collection like a standard presentation. But then two models crawled out of the backstage area moving like aliens and wearing matching lace sets, and the crowd realized this was actually going to be more like a modern dance performance.
The choreography was orchestrated by Parris Goebel, who also choreographed and starred in the music video for Justin Bieber’s “Sorry.” The models doubled as actors and dancers, going from cutesy pin-up girl to circus contortionist to runway strutter and back again.
And about those models: As is Rihanna’s signature, many sizes and ethnicities were represented. Marquee names like Gigi and Bella Hadid, Joan Smalls, Paloma Elsesser, and Duckie Thot walked in the show. There were women built like gymnasts, women with stretch marks, and two very pregnant models including Slick Woods. As they catwalked, people in the crowd started cheering — which is not at all standard at a fashion show, but felt appropriate to the mood.
Plus, the audience was practically high on anticipation. Would the models continue their joyful dancing or break into faux-sobs? They did both. Would Rihanna join them? She did not, except to take a bow. Would we ever figure out exactly what was going on? Not really! It was a lingerie show where the focus wasn’t on being sexy — although the models and clothes were. The focus was on giving the audience a good time, and it delivered.
The clothes weren’t necessarily groundbreaking, but they didn’t have to be. The phrase “I want all of it” was heard more than once in the audience. Nude lace bralettes and logo high-waisted briefs were mixed in with sexier harnesses, neon leopard bodysuits, and fishnet catsuits. Slick Woods wore a harness over her pregnant stomach and pasties in lieu of a bra. Gigi Hadid had a army-green cape. It’s all available now online.
Rihanna took many of the common gripes about Fashion Week and fixed them. Her show was inventive, freaky, and unique. The clothes are accessible for a range of bodies and budgets (everything costs between $12.50 and $115, bras run 32A–40DDD, and undies and sleepwear run XS–3X.) When Rihanna launched her makeup line with 40 shades of foundation, that became all but an industry standard. One can only hope Savage x Fenty’s runway debut has the same effect.
See the scene below.