Rihanna's Savage x Fenty fashion show makes a bid to rival Victoria's Secret

Ella Alexander
Photo credit: Ben Gabbe - Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Rihanna presented her spring/summer 2020 collection at New York Fashion Week last night, 10 September, to be exclusively live streamed by Amazon Prime on 20 September across 200 countries and territories worldwide. The televised streaming will give the star-cum-designer a huge reach beyond standard catwalk audiences, and compounds her inclusive ethos.

"There are a lot of women out there who are feeling in the dark, invisible. 'I can’t try that on because I’m not made that like,'” she said in a post-show interview with Business of Fashion. “This is where you feel safe, right here at Savage.”

Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris - Getty Images

The decision to broadcast the lingerie show has naturally drawn comparisons to fellow underwear brand Victoria's Secret, which has cancelled its annual catwalk event amid dwindling viewing figures and criticism over its archaic view of female beauty.

Rihanna has swooped in where Victoria's Secret failed, adopting a body-positive, size-inclusive approach to lingerie that celebrates and empowers a diverse spectrum of women. At yesterday's show, her second under her Savage x Fenty brand, she banned the fashion press from taking pictures so the collection could be kept largely under wraps until the September 20 broadcast date. As with last season, the highly choreographed catwalk event featured a diverse line-up, starring Cara Delevingne, Alek Wek, Joan Smalls, Laverne Cox and the Hadid sisters.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Models - who were of different ethnicities, size and shapes - didn't simply walk along a runway. Choreographed by famed Parris Goebel, they twerked, stomped and danced their way through the show in a way that is clearly designed to entertain the masses, not just the fashion crowd.

“I love how [Parris] makes everything sexy despite society’s ideal of what sexy looks,” said Rihanna. “I don’t care about any skinny Victoria’s Secret model when I look at Parris. I want to be that woman on the inside. I want to feel that confident I want to feel that bombastic… That is the Savage brand.”

Adding to the entertainment were a series of musical performances from DJ Khaled, Halsey, Big Sean, A$AP Ferg, Fat Joe and Migos. Star guests included Orange is the New Black star Dascha Polanco, model Halima Aden, actress Hailee Steinfeld and DJ and songwriter Diplo.

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