After Rihanna released the exploratory “Anti” in early 2016, she decided to put the constant churning of albums on hold to elevate herself in a different avenue—primarily as an all encompassing businesswoman.
This began in September 2017 when she debuted Fenty Beauty, which continues to receive rightful praise for its focus on inclusivity. Carrying the same message, she released the lingerie brand Savage X Fenty in 2018—offering customers a wide-range of options for all races, identities and sizes. Since then, her empire has completely taken over the world of beauty and fashion and her recent New York Fashion Week show on Sept. 10 further proves this.
Now streaming on Amazon Prime, the latest Savage X Fenty showcase serves as the ultimate fashion musical. The show features an all-star team of artists, models and dancers all backed by an elaborate set design. Although the show is meant to highlight the uniqueness of the line itself and hype up the crowd with dynamic performances, the conglomerate of all the different types of women packed in the Barclays Center for all to see truly stole the show.
The first 15 minutes of the special lets viewers into the process of putting on a spectacle of this magnitude. Rihanna is shown taking part in business meetings, fittings and choreography sessions—heavily involved in every single detail down to the tags of the pieces. Even though this section was brief, it’s impressive how her team put the show together in just six weeks. So often viewers only see a runway show for its final product, but never get to appreciate the hard work behind the scenes.
The actual show begins with an incredible surprise—Rihanna herself. For fans that have missed seeing her on stage, this is the ultimate way to start. Standing on podiums alongside other incredible dancers sporting the line, Rihanna radiates a sense of confidence and captivating presence that’s always been within her. The choreography is hard-hitting and self-assured—setting the tone for the trajectory of moments about to unfold.
The show intermixes the worlds of fashion and music in a way that only Rihanna can. Amidst all the lingerie showings, performers from Big Sean to Tierra Whack uphold the energy and help transition through different segments seamlessly. Big time models like the Hadid sisters, Joan Smalls and Cara Delevingne make substantial statements along with actress Laverne Cox and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” season 10 winner Aquaria.
Dance was a huge part of the show and many of social media’s well-known professionals like Jade Chynoweth and Amanda LaCount amazed the crowd with their fierceness. Rihanna also gave performer Normani an opportunity to remind the audience why she’s a rising star with her sensational dance sequence—set to Sean Paul’s “Get Busy.” There was nothing soft and dainty about the choreography displayed throughout the entire show. It had everything to do with power and self-assurance—reflecting what Savage X Fenty is all about.
Everything from the colors and the stage direction was all intentional—making the viewing experience even more eye-catching than your average runway show. Because Rihanna has years of experience in providing audiences with aesthetically pleasing stage productions on past tours, it is no surprise that she wanted to take this route with her own fashion show.
The Savage X Fenty show highlighted people that aren’t typically represented in the world of high fashion without it feeling forced. Hopefully, her influence and example will lead other companies to implement inclusion as a main priority when developing their brands. More importantly, Rihanna and her team see fashion and beauty as a reflection of people being authentic to who they are—not what they are “supposed” to be.
Rylee Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @rybyjackson.