Pop superstar Rihanna made her runway debut in a collaboration with Puma at New York Fashion Week. The line, Fenty x Puma, showcases stark black and white contrasts through avant-garde designs. Models donned ragged track pants, rosary beads and black fur coats as they trudged down the forbidden forest-esque runway.
The December 2014 announcement that Rihanna had been named Puma’s creative designer and global ambassador shook up the heavily-athletic image of the German company. Rihanna stands in sharp contrast to the previous ambassador, Olympian runner Usain Bolt. The singer’s first release under the Fenty label in 2015, the Puma Creeper sneaker, sold out within hours and led the company’s women’s shoe sales to a 40 percent yearly increase.
Rihanna’s involvement launched Puma soaring past its top competitors, Nike and Adidas. The two have dominated athletic wear, however according to Bloomberg Business, Puma topped their average fourth-quarter sales by almost $35 million. Considering that Adidas has also vouched for a non-athletic collaboration with Kanye West in the same period, Puma may be turning into the one to beat.
The proximity of the two stars’ runway shows may have reflected this rivalry. While both were extravagantly unconventional displays, Rihanna was the one to remember. The streetwear-turn-sporty, even “athleisure,” line-up included mostly women’s looks that exaggerated contrast through the black and white color scheme, as well as the pairing of over-sized outerwear with sheer tops. Thigh-high leather boots and cloth chokers doused the show with a touch of raunchiness.
The gothic pieces and the shiny, smoky scenery created a spooky, almost mythical effect. Breaking up the mystifying aesthetics was the sister-model duo, Bella and Gigi Hadid. The sisters, along with peer/BFF Kendall Jenner, were all over the Fashion Week runways, from Diane von Furstenburg to Marc Jacobs.
Rihanna’s show was not only a display of her designs, but a reflection of who she is, and what she herself is wearing. The singer told the New York Times of Puma: “They were willing to let me be creative and express myself in whatever way I wanted to. They wanted a change..I had to go from the ground up and say I’m just going to go there.”
The singer’s hectic week continues with the belated release of her wayward album, ‘Anti,’ reaching No. 1 in its second week on the charts.