The singer, recent recipient of Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year and all around fearless woman, has just launched her Fenty x Puma Fall 2017 Collection. The theme of the collection and runway show is all about taking it back to school. From the desk and lamp runways to the Varsity-style banners, backpacks and of course, clothing carrying the abbreviation, FU, otherwise known as Fenty University, collegiate clothing has never been cooler. In an interview with Vogue about the collection, Rihanna stated, “I never got the chance to dress up in school, I always had to wear school uniform, so it was always a fantasy of mine to have the freedom.” This collection embodies the liberation Rihanna gestures to in more explicit terms than her previous collections, however is tenacious and unapologetic in typical Rihanna fashion.
The collection itself is categorized according to five social groups. The ‘nerds’ are seen wearing tartan patterns in the colours of Dartmouth Green, echoing the colour of the Ivy League University, pairing it with navy blue pieces. The ‘skaters’ are most recognised for their chunky heeled dark green and black worker boots, paired with tartan items from the ‘nerds’ section and orange and navy blue tops and dresses for a more athleisure look. ‘Preppies’ are perhaps the most recognisable with their black, white and navy blue polo shirts, knee high socks, with yellow accents. The most Rihanna-esque look, were that of the ‘bad girls’, or ‘mean girls’. This included various long sleeved maroon and orange tops, padded jackets and wide legged sweatpants and jumpsuits. Lastly, the ‘goths’ look is also quite classic, sticking to oversized black sweatshirt dresses, coats and sweatpants.
Rihanna’s vision for a school-based collection is freeing in more ways than the collection itself. The selection of models of different ethnicities, shows the collection to represent a more diverse group of people. In doing so, Rihanna breaks down the barriers of fashion being exclusive and moves towards it being more inclusive. This openness is seen more specifically, by the crowd invited to the runway show, including rapper, Future and music producer, DJ Mustard. Essentially, the areas of fashion and music, particularly Hip Hop, can be seen to cross paths and boundaries through Rihanna’s ethos of inclusion. The mixture of male and female models walking together, also adds to this idea of freedom and being freed. Whilst watching the runway show, the interchange between male and female models is seamless. This perhaps represents the unisex nature of the collection and youth culture in being gender fluid and experimenting with the idea of sexuality.
It is fair to say that Rihanna has created a collection which captures the freedom of choice associated with being young, the experimentalist outlook of a young person and the nonchalant attitude which Rihanna embodies herself. A recurring theme in Rihanna’s music is her unapologetic nature for being herself and true to who she is. This collection captures perfectly, a care-free attitude, with a “too cool for school” outlook.