Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty Show Was a NYFW Burlesque Spectacle

It was part runway show, part burlesque performance, part concert, and full spectacle.

Savage X Fenty Show Presented By Amazon Prime Video - Show Sneak Peak
Ben Gabbe/Getty Images

“There’s so much love involved, so it’s different. I’ve never seen anything like this, honestly,” Cara Delevingne told W about an hour before the big reveal of Rihanna‘s Savage x Fenty runway show for New York Fashion Week.

It was only the second time Rihanna shared her work for her lingerie line on the official NYFW calendar, and many wondered how last September’s Savage x Fenty show could ever be topped (last year, the spectacle was held in a warehouse amongst the Brooklyn Navy Yards, and Slick Woods gave birth moments after debuting her full baby bump on the runway near the end of the show). But no one can bring people together quite like Rihanna can, and the second time around, she opened the show for her size-inclusive line of lingerie herself with a dance routine set to a remix of “Woo.” Then she opened the floor for performances from A$AP Ferg and Big Sean to Halsey to Fat Joe and DJ Khaled, lots of dancing (with a moment spotlighting Normani, naturally), and even some menswear silk pajama looks on full display thanks to 21 Savage and Christian Combs.

But before the show, the excitement was palpable because nobody really knew what to expect. It seemed like everyone, whether they were models walking in the show—like Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls and Bella Hadid—musicians, or even Barclays Center security guards were on high alert, waiting for the return of their queen in Brooklyn. Savage x Fenty show attendees, like Rico Nasty, Migos (who also performed in the show, we would later learn), and Paris Hilton praised Rihanna. Rico Nasty said she’d do “anything” for a new Rihanna album, and Hilton, an early aughts icon herself exalted Rihanna as “a legend, a queen, an icon.” Even Diplo appeared to support the woman of the hour—perhaps as a truce over her previous diss calling one of his songs “airport reggae” music.

“The first time I met Rihanna was the Victoria’s Secret show, so that was a very different situation,” Delevingne said cheekily on the carpet. It seems to be the case that after the success of a show like the inclusive Savage x Fenty NYFW spectacle, people are asking, “Victoria’s Secret, who?” A brand’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion, rather than a chaotic and controversial scene like the situation with the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (which will no longer air on television), really does go a long way.

“The funny thing, though, is the second time I met her, I was sitting in the audience and her bodyguard came and got me, and she opened the door and was like, ‘You are a rock star,'” Delevingne continued. “I was like, ‘Wait, me? That’s weird because you are the one who just performed and I love you and that’s amazing.'”

“She’s always been so lovely and such a good friend. I’m enamored by her in every way, shape, and form. I’m so proud of her!” Delevingne said before running back stage to get ready for the show, where she modeled the Spring/Summer 2020 collection in slime green lingerie during a routine set to “Oops (Oh My)” by Tweet and Missy Elliott. “We’re just lifting each other up.”

Savage x Fenty has really elevated our expectations of a lingerie brand, from a musician turned entrepreneur, and from New York Fashion Week in general. It was part runway show, part burlesque performance, part concert—and it will all be available for the public to stream on Amazon Prime on September 20.

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