Anything Rihanna touches will be surrounded with buzz. It's true of her constantly sold-out Puma shoes, and it's also applicable to the runway component of her Fenty line. Just when we thought she couldn't up the ante on her inaugural New York Fashion Week runway show (with two Hadids, one Anna Wintour in the audience, and many different kinds of sneaker boots), Bad Gal packed up the show and shipped it to Paris. French Fenty does have one of the mainstays of the line we know, love, and shop relentlessly on drop days: The new range of shoes are fire.
Rihanna's spring '17 Fenty presentation took place at the very swanky Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild — a popular venue for fashion events in Paris, hosting Valentino Haute Couture shows and Kenzo parties in past seasons. Jay Z's own bubbly flowed freely during the latest Fenty showing. (Only the best for Rih.) The whole setup was inspired by old-school Paris Fashion Week shows, which were very intimate in nature: "It’s going to be a very salon-style show — very French — and that idea was inspired by those old Christian Dior shows from back in the day, when he would show in a small room," she explained to Vogue backstage.
That was the only main difference between the first and second Fenty drops: This time around, Rihanna hosted not one but two presentations, back to back — each with slight variations in looks, and a different Fenty outfit for the designer to wear for her final bow. A number of models — Jourdan Dunn! Doutzen Kroes! Sara Sampaio! — were there to take in the aristocracy athleisure-fied collection; as well as industry insiders, including designers Adam Selman and Virgil Abloh, and influencers like Chiara Ferragni. The catwalk was equally buzzy, with Imaan Hammam opening both shows, and Anwar Hadid taking his sophomore walk down the runway alongside fan favourites Adwoa Aboah, Dilone, and Taylor Hill.
The designer summed up the collection with this brilliantly specific description: "If Marie Antoinette was going to the gym and needed something to wear." It may sound niche, but it's pretty much the most appropriate way to describe Fenty's latest ready-to-wear. Each presentation features five colour stories — pink, green, white, nude, and purple (with variations on the nude-hued looks between presentations) — featuring sweatpants with corsets, hoodies with pearls, lace do-rags, and Puma-branded fans. "It’s super-regal and a perfect mix of street- and sportswear," Rihanna told Vogue, adding that the soundtrack chosen to accompany the collection was a combination of violins and trap beats for that very reason.
Unsurprisingly, considering this is a Puma production, the stand-outs were the shoes. Whereas fall was heavy on the boots, Rihanna's spring will involve even more deft grate-dodging in stilettos. Puma's classic lace-up sneakers were transformed into pointed-toe, skinny-heeled mules; slingback heels; and thick gum-soled platforms (but with the eye row and signature stripe intact). Oh, and next season's slides? The furry strap has been replaced by an oversized satin bow.
Hey, this genre of aristocratic athleisure footwear could have a pretty commercial outcome, given Rihanna's track record at Puma. Although, while her first few Fenty styles ring in at around £100, her catwalk pieces are a little pricier: Fall '16 platform boots go for £250, booties retail for £460, and over-the-knee shoes cap out at around £575. One thing's for certain, though — you've never seen Puma Suedes like these before. Check out the Bad Gal-approved footwear that'll be pretty much everywhere next season.