// by Skye Humbert //
Alongside the title of Ambassador of Barbados, it seems that the Fenty Republic is well on its way to dominating the world.
Rihanna has changed the face of the pop industry, shown her skill in creating a diverse and quality makeup line, and has now turned her hand to lingerie. Released in May 2018, Savage X Fenty has undoubtedly shaken up the runway.
Inclusivity has been at the forefront of all of Rihanna’s business ventures. Unlike the skinny glamazon ‘Angels’, that adorn Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, she has focused her range on a diversity of skin tones and body shapes. Her lingerie ranges from sizes 32A to 44DD and other items of clothing include sizes from XS to 3XL. The same principles shine through on the models chosen for her runway shows, using plus-size models like Audrey Ritchie and black models such as Duckie Thot and Leomie Anderson.
Rihanna’s vision was encapsulated in her NYFW show which she described as “mixing the really authentic, organic things on earth, and meshing it with what we see in the future”. The backdrop was a green, natural environment, filled with rock falls and ponds, all while the models danced, played, and strutted around in the striking collection. A special mention goes to Slick Woods for giving birth to a baby boy merely hours after walking the Fenty show. The backlash against her gap tooth face and her pregnant body was unsurprising and repulsive owing to the singular and restrictive idea of what type of beauty should be being perpetuated by the industry. However, Rihanna, her designs, and her models stood against this, finding beauty and empowerment in their self-confidence.
The items themselves cover all kinds of styles, pieces and fabrics, including bodysuits, corsets, thongs, mesh, lace and swimwear. The Fenty Instagram encompasses its aesthetic; dreamy and sensual with sharp colours and bold patterns. Reviews of the brand claim how “even the pricing is accessible” (even though a mesh thong will set you back £30 and bodysuits are priced over £100).
Although Fenty deserves to be commended for producing an alternative to the saturated industry of sexy suspenders and push up bras, some of the items themselves were disappointing. Vibrant colours made some pieces impractical for everyday use under light clothing. The bralettes plastered with ‘Savage X Fenty‘ are not dissimilar to the iconic Calvin Klein waistband which numerous brands have copied. At the same time, the satin bandeaus and unlined microfiber bras are something that we have not seen before and incorporate the balance between comfort and sex appeal. Ultimately, the success of the brand speaks for itself, selling out constantly with each release.
Rihanna, her designs and her models found beauty and empowerment in their self-confidence.
Celebrities often get a buzz for trying their hand at other industries, which their money and fame inevitably allows, leaving them liable to release a low-grade line, reeking with inexperience. Yet in the case of this hip-hop star – who has already collaborated with Armani and Dior, released several collections with River Island, and taken a role as creative director at Puma – this is not the case. The latter position at Puma saw the successful release of a long line of footwear, her first trainer selling out 3 hours into pre-sale. Vogue surmised, “Sometimes when a famous person tries his or her hand at another discipline, the results can be uneven. And yet there are those special cases when making the switch leads to a good surprise. Judging by the collection she showed today, we can add Rihanna to that list.”
It certainly appears that Rihanna is far from finished building her Fenty empire, apparently hoping to expand into interior design. The future looks good for Fenty and for consumers – as her brand spreads internationally, so do her values of inclusivity and diversity. Instead of relying on larger fashion houses to remedy their old ways, Rihanna has used her influence to push the expectations of representation and has become an example to follow. Whether or not you buy into her stardom, you cannot help but feel the effects.