Aside from the photographers clamoring to snap frowers like Whoopi Goldberg and Ashley Graham, things were surprisingly calm before Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma show last night—eerily calm. Too calm. The lights in the Park Avenue Armory were dim, and huge mounds of millennial pink sand filled the space. It kind of reminded me of a Salvador Dali painting, only without any melting clocks or unnerving references to his complicated relationship with his father. It was 9 p.m., and there were so many shows that day, and I was tired, and the dreamlike melody of Nino Rota’s “La Gradisca E Il Principe” playing over the speakers was lulling me to near-sleep.
Then I let out a bloodcurdling scream. No one could hear it over the roaring of the BMX bike that suddenly shot out from backstage, but, it happened, and, I mean, I was really startled. I sat staring, mouth agape, as the bike vroomed up a ramp, did a flip in the air, and then landed behind one of those Dali-esque dunes.Then another did the same. And another. And I laughed, because I was at New York fashion week, sitting in the Park Avenue Armory in front of god knows how many tons of pink sand, watching BMX bikes, and it was just so hilariously lavish and—fine, fine, I’ll admit it—super fun.
Gravity-defying daredevils are a pretty hard act to follow, but the subsequent fashion show certainly won’t disappoint fans of Fenty. The sporty, sexed-up streetwear, which the brand defined as “gender-fluid” via a post-show release, was a fusion of BMX and beach. Jumpsuits were made to look like wetsuits, mini-dresses like rash guards. Leggings came laced-up at the side with bungee cords, thigh-high boots resembled moto-chaps, and Joan Smalls’ leather biker suit was, well, just hot as hell. Utilitarian buckles—a popular detail this season—abounded, in one instance lending a bondage vibe to an orange, plastic-coated skirt-and-jacket look. Bags included backpacks, a duffel, and fanny packs that were, as is so on trend at the moment, carried in models’ hands. Logos had prime placement, naturally, and the silhouettes were second-skin, oversized, or that signature Rihanna combo of both. One example of that would be look 14, a boxy, cropped anorak paired with a one-piece bathing suit that I do not recommend trying unless you have a very good bikini waxer, in which case, go for it.
I’ve gotta hand it to Rih. For one, while the show was quite the grand spectacle, it started more or less on time and we were in and out in less than an hour. I love that. Everyone should endeavor to be like that. Moreover, this was one of the best straight-up streetwear collections I’ve seen this week (and believe you me, I’ve seen a lot of streetwear this week). The Bad Gal herself looked pretty slick in the range’s black-and-green leather thigh boots and bungee-laced olive hoodie when she came out at the end, though, the fact that she was waving from the back of a BMX bike did help the optics.
Click through the slideshow above to see the full collection.