In case you missed it, Kanye West was a no-show at New York Fashion Week this season. The rapper-turned-designer opted not to show his Yeezy line in New York for spring 2018 (whether or not he'll show elsewhere remains to be seen), leaving a gap for a spectacle in the schedule.
This season, Rihanna more than filled that void, but in her own style, of course.
On Sunday night, the mid-point of New York Fashion Week, the bad girl herself threw a fashion show that was by all accounts rather nice to its attendees.
Unlike her aforementioned frequent collaborator, Rihanna marked her spot on the fashion calendar well in advance, giving editors ample time to determine whether or not they'd make the trek to the Park Avenue Armory (the fact that it didn't conflict with any major shows was an added and much appreciated bonus).
Spoiler alert: the show was well worth the schlep to the Upper East Side. And rather than keep her audience captive for hours on end, Rihanna started her show at a very prompt 9:30 p.m., practically early for a 9 p.m. call time.
The start of the show was unmissable. The spacious venue, which just days earlier housed Tom Ford's subdued, Academy Awards-ready show, suddenly became the 2017 X-Games, as a trio of bikers revved their motorcycles over an elevated pile of millennial pink sand, soaring into the air (who knew the ceilings went so high!), with a few backflips thrown in for good measure.
The fashion itself kicked off in a similar manner, as Slick Woods rode around the circular track on the back of a motorbike, her signature scowl firmly in tact. From there, it was a rapid fire runway show, with clothing inspired by—you guessed it—motocross. But rather than feeling gimmicky, Rihanna and Puma pulled off the schtick with aplomb—this was athleisure at its very best. An all-star cast including Kaia Gerber, Joan Smalls, Stella Maxwell, and Grace Elizabeth, stormed the runway in baggy track-pants, sleek bathing suits, loose cargo pants, and enough Matrix-inspired sunglasses to keep the Jenner sisters' retinas protected for years to come. There were cool, slouchy boots that perhaps only Rihanna could pull off, meaning they’ll instantly sell out; cropped hoodies decked out in Puma logos; and vibrant windbreakers in primary hues—a wardrobe of ironically cool separates that still somehow felt accessible. By the time Adriana Lima closed the show in an electric blue wetsuit, you could practically see the street style-crazed set rethinking their next day ensembles, racking their brains for how to incorporate a windbreaker into their look.
It was a collection—and an experience—that made its influence on fashion immediately felt, without a smothering air of Instagram-fueled extravaganza. And get this, nary a Hadid or Jenner in sight.
Of course, there were still plenty of Instagrams posted—I mean, how could you not? Somehow Rihanna had put joy back in New York Fashion Week—and at 9 p.m. on a Sunday, no less, a time frame typically reserved for Game of Thrones. But rather than take her celebratory lap on a fire-breathing dragon, the singer rode around the room on the back of a motorcycle, her arms triumphantly pumped in the air.
And so it was: Rihanna was our very own Khaleesi of fashion week.
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