Bad Girl Ri Ri is playing up to your expectations.  The pop star also known as Rihanna recently presented her second ready-to-wear collection for the German sportswear brand, Puma at Paris Fashion Week.  Raising the bar considerably above her debut effort last season the absence of black marked a departure from the health- goth mood of her previous craft with a line up of looks morphing the world of 18th-century French court into what you might imagine they would aspire to look like should they cameo in a modern day pop music video, styled by Rihanna, of course.

Moving venue from the self-made million-dollar bling power of Wall Street, New York to the traditionally aristocratic environment of Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild, an elitist 19th-century Parisian mansion, Rihanna Fenty proved she is a pretty tough girl act to follow.

‘Let Them Eat Cake Then Let Them Work It Off’ appeared to be the mantra behind this modern day fairytale.  Marie Antoinette became the ultimate bad girl’s muse after a trip to the palace of Versailles whilst shooting a Dior campaign inspiring a vast array of regal references that have been applied in abundance.  Apparently, Rihanna was blown away to be in the same halls where Marie Antoinette once roamed and the French Queen’s influence has remained with the pop queen leading to the meeting of two very different worlds.

Fenty Puma by Rihanna | SS17 Collection in Paris

Rococo and street-wear were referenced in equal measure.  Models came in more pearl necklaces, lace do-rags, pleats and ribbons than Prince.  The display of gender fluid flamboyancy proved to mélange extravagant corsetry and Chinoiserie with mesh, camouflage and sportswear fabrics in a palette of baby pink, blue, lilac and blush white very successfully.  Darker tones were reduced into a pastel of beige, mint and lavender.  The designs were androgynous with men’s and women’s clothes cut from the same cloth.  Lace baseball caps were veiled in netting embroidered with puma cats that covered up some faces within the privileged tribe, while others flapped lace fans in their hands as they walked.

Underwear layered over hoodies and bustier tips met very low-slung sweat pants with lace panel crotches.  Sheer silk parachute windbreakers were ruffled up in long and short styles with utility jumpsuits changing shape into negligee style land girl lingerie.   Oversized masculine coats worn open showed off cutesy frilly lace garters in a fine display of militant style.

Rihanna was recently styled as Marie Antoinette for CR Fashion Book  – a knowing nod towards the reveal of her own upcoming Fenty Puma by Rihanna collection available in Spring 2017


HeraldScotland: Copyright CR Fashion Book

Miuccia Prada’s teenage muse Yasmin Wijnaldum opened the show followed by Anwar Hadid, little brother of Gi-Gi and Bella.  Taylor Hill, Stella Maxwell, Lexi Boling, Imaan Hammam, Fernanda Ly, Dilone, Adwao Aboah and Issa Lish also formed part of the eloquent street cast.  Sita Abellan, who was having her hottest moment since appearing in Rihanna’s ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ music video also walked, “I mean, I do what I want,” she was heard saying in perfect alignment with Rihanna's entire ethos.   

Bad Girl Ri-Ri kept the punctuation game strong piercing metallic hoops adorning pearls into the centre of the models bottom lips, septums emblazoned crystals and cameos that had also been pricked into the skin.   Rihanna finished everyone off at the end by showing her own impressive set of piercings when she traditionally made her appearance as designer for the final bow. 

Of course Rihanna isn’t a designer but she does have a creative vision.  Living in Rihanna’s material world, Melissa Battifarano worked on the first Fenty X Puma ready to wear collection for AW16 and is still onboard.  Initially, designing, creating and conceptualizing the Fenty X Puma range, Melissa Battifarano presented a few sportswear inspired collections perfectly fit for the gym to the pop diva who immediately declared “This is not me, I want something more luxurious.  I want more fabrics”.  Imagine, “Marie Antoinette if she was going to the gym and needed something to wear”.  

Battifarano noted she was responsible for "designing and developing Spring 17 range [for Fenty Corp, where she is the design director]”.  “It’s (Rihanna’s] collection, so it’s all about her. She always gives the right input. It’s clothing that I’ve designed for her, but it’s really her vision. But it’s been a very collaborative process.  I really know what pieces are important to her so we can style them out.”  Melissa Battifarano


Fenty Puma by Rihanna SS17 collage by Jeff Mars

Jourdan Dunn, Sara Sampaio and Doutzen Kroes were unusually off the runway and displayed wearing Fenty X Puma front of shelf in a sort of supermodel sweep.  Vogue’s international editor Hamish Bowels joined them front row with Style Bubble blogger Susannah Lau.  Famed fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth gave good face while Camille Seydoux, the stylist and sister to actress Lea Seydoux also made it into the line up.

Although set in a highly exclusive and intimate salon setting in Paris, legions of Rihanna’s fans across the globe tuned in to watch the live-stream on Tidal.  With a leaked preview across social media for her 44.4 million Instagram and 66.1 million Twitter fans this gang of modern elite did not need you to sit with them. 

Sales at the global athletic company Puma now owned by Kering have increased steadily since Rihanna Fenty was named as creative director in 2014.  Strong demand for footwear launched as part of a partnership with the iconic singer helped drive better-than-expected sales growth making them optimistic for an even better future. 

Fenty Puma By Rihanna AW16/17 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York

Fenty X Puma is just one of the latest design collaborations between established corporate apparel brands and the modern breed of mega celebrities.  Italian fashion house, Versace have just announced Zayn Malik will co-design the next collection for Versus Versace.  The “Rock Soul of Versace” as Donatella puts it will release the capsule collection Zayn X Versus in May 2017 along with a global ad campaign featuring the ex One Direction singer who’s girlfriend just so happens to be Gi-Gi Hadid.

Donatella Versace told Vogue “Why I want Zayn now: he can make me talk to his followers.”  “This is a new generation, (which) if I do not go through someone like Zayn I will never reach”.  After the exit of designer Anthony Vaccarello who recently became Hedi Slimane’s successor at Yves Saint Laurent, Versace said this was the beginning of a new era for Versus and confirmed a lot more collaborations with music people and rock stars than designers lay ahead.

It’s easy to understand despite the lack of design credentials why established corporate fashion businesses want to collaborate with these super famous stars.  Their market value is insurmountable thanks to social media sites Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.  The very talented puppeteers of fashion have always got away with lending their true grit to pop artists and ultimately who really cares anyway, as long as the reach touches the maximum global audience.

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