The fashion industry is justifiably wary of celebrity fashion collaborations. More often than not, they’re over-hyped and under-done. Sometimes, they’re just a drag. Ask any of the editors who attended Kanye’s five-hour Yezzy x Adiddas extravaganza in NYC a few weeks ago. Not so with Rihanna.
For her second collection with Puma, FentyxPuma, Rihanna upped the ante: While she presented her debut collection with Puma in NYC, for spring/summer 2017 she took it to Paris, the home of serious fashion. And she chose a serious venue — the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, which has previously been used by the likes of Valentino (for their couture shows) and Yves Saint Laurent (back in the Stefano Pilati days).
The stakes were high, but Rihanna managed to clear the very high bar she’d set for herself.
The collection — a pastel (mostly baby pink) array of sweats and parkas and hoodies inset with lace and corsetry and pearls and other assorted lingerie details — felt deeply personal (the customer who wants to buy into Rihanna will certainly get that) and fresh. Rihanna described the collection to Vanessa Friedman at the New York Times as “If Marie Antoinette were going to the gym and needed something to wear.”
She expanded in a press release, “I am really excited about this collection as its very fun and light. Showing in Paris was the perfect backdrop as I pulled a lot of inspiration from France, Marie Antoinette and The Palace of Versailles specifically,” said Creative Director Rihanna. “Mixing athletic wear with regal touches was a challenge and I hope everyone loves the results. I cannot wait to wear this collection.”
A smart merchandiser, Rihanna has plenty of covetable accessories to offer her die-hard fans (aka The Navy): baseball caps with corset ties, shower shoes with oversized pink silk bows, lace-up mules with a puma stripe, and frilly gym bags in pink and army green. (Remember that Rihanna’s other big collaboration, with MAC, yielded a best-selling lipstick in RiRi Woo.)
The styling, by Tom Van Dorpe, was as cool as Rihanna: both the female and very muscular male models (hi) wore lacey camisoles, durags made of floral silks and broderie anglaise, and baggy sweat pants.