Six days ago, during the craziness of New York Fashion Week, Rihanna debuted her first full winter/fall collection for Puma since signing as creative director of the brand in 2014. This follows on from her first hugely successful venture with Puma, the creeper shoe, which sold out swiftly in September 2015. I for one was desperate to get my hands on a pair, but one missed alarm later and my chance was up in smoke. I was seriously excited to see what was going to be on offer this time, and luckily the original bad gal’s urban-goth game is as strong as ever.
The showcase most certainly did not disappoint, but it also did not particularly shock, as the collection literally screamed ‘Rihanna’. Firstly, there was A LOT of black. Pretty much all of the looks were monochrome and the models were transformed into black lipped, icy haired sports-chic queens.
Speaking of the models, the line up included the most Instagram-able models of the moment, from Gigi and Bella Hadid to Stella Maxwell and Ruth Bell of Ruth and May. Bella Hadid wore one of my favourite looks, the lace up, skin tight flared body suit that somehow looks sleek and sexy whilst at the same time seriously sporty. It’s this mixing of very different looks that set the tone for the whole collection; the grungy-sporty-street wear vibe was offset by sheer fabrics, lace and a lot of bare skin. Rihanna herself said of the collection, that ‘if the Addams Family went to the gym, this is what they would wear’ and this melding of Rihanna’s signature urban- gothic style is evident in all aspects of design.
The collection featured both women’s and men’s wear, but a key aspect of the line as a whole is androgyny. Many of the pieces are unisex and clearly defy any binary notion of gendered fashion. This ambiguity can be felt in the very cut of the clothes, Rihanna has played around with a variety of shapes, sizes and silhouettes in a striking way. The juxtaposition of massively baggy, oversize clothing and then the skin tight- a signature RiRi look- was everywhere, from figure hugging dresses to roomy tracksuits.
I love all of the criss- cross and lace- up detailing, which is sexy and suggestive whilst evocative of Puma’s sporty essence. Different sports are alluded to in different looks, one particular favourite of mine looks like it had been designed for the world’s most stylish female boxer. The crop top with the cross over bottom is at the top of my must-have list, it feels very Alexander Wang, the epitome of sporty chic.
Sports might be a defining feature, but the collection has also clearly been inspired by Japan. From sheer dresses featuring Japanese calligraphy (another highlight for me) to tracksuits emblazoned with the Japanese flag, the influence is palpable.
Aside from the clothes, there was of the course shoes. The new Fenty trainer was unveiled and new creepers were added. Many of the models were dressed in a trainer- stiletto hybrid (some in white, some in yellow as below right) that, I have to be honest, is definitely not for me. They feel very tacky, 90’s pop star and look like the type of shoe that will only ever really have novelty value. But hey, maybe that’s the look Rihanna and Puma were going for! I do however LOVE LOVE LOVE the chunky white platform boots. They looked banging paired with bare legs, both with the oversized jumper mini dress and the longer dresses (as below). I could imagine wearing them in almost any scenario, from work to nightclubs to the shops to festivals, and to me they perfectly encapsulate the collection’s sexy rude gyal grunge aesthetic.
All in all, it was a pretty great collection, and Rihanna delivered exactly what we would expect her to. Unfortunately the collection won’t be available to the masses via retailers until Feb 2016, so until then we’ll simply have to channel the Fenty x Puma vibes by stomping around to Rihanna’s new album and wearing a lot of black lipstick.