Rihanna took socially distant fashion shows to the next level in Savage x Fenty Vol. 2, featuring a strong line up of celebrity guest stars such as Lizzo, Demi Moore, Willow Smith, and more. The show aired on Thursday night and had Twitter and other platforms completely abuzz. Rihanna’s epic hour-long production can now be streamed on Amazon Prime.
Since the Savage x Fenty show last year, which set new standards for lingerie in a diverse display of body positivity, Rihanna has also included a men’s line and new segments on meditation and sexuality. This year’s production, originally in the works pre-pandemic, has adapted to the shifting tides and taken on new heights. As the camera pauses on performers such as Shea Coulee and Gigi Goode, doing a 360 around them and following closely as they strut the runway, the viewer experience perhaps feels more intimate, more alive than ever. In an interview with the New York Times, Rihanna said, “There’s a lot riding on this… It’s new territory for everyone, including Amazon Prime.”
Rihanna’s Vol. 2 designs are drawn on in her handwriting with xoxos, hearts, dollar signs, yin and yang symbols, and smiley faces, which are inspired by her relationship to diaries. “I never really had a journal,” Rihanna told the New York Times. “I didn’t even know what I would write in a diary besides doodles.” Her writing, seen on bras, underwear, and briefs, is another way Rihanna is making her mark.
In addition, the new men’s line brought in guests such as Travis Scott, Frank Ocean, and Bad Bunny, straying away from Rihanna’s former feminine-focused shows. Yet, with this shift, certain issues did come up, such as the fact that women performers such as Rosalia, Lizzo, and Ella Mai sang in lingerie while Travis Scott and Bad Bunny wore full pants. But Rihanna makes clear her intentions when it comes to gender, sexuality, and empowerment, telling the New York Times, “Sometimes [sexuality is] tainted because you’ve had horrible experiences or been robbed of your own power.” It becomes something “that has to be owned or earned.”
Savage x Fenty Vol. 2 radiates a particular power compared to previous shows. It adds more depth and nuances to the bodies seen on-screen, angling below, above, and around them, following them. Mirrors, a reoccurring prop in the show, symbolize the perceptions of self and the projections of others, warping reflections but also offering a window into one's truest form. Rihanna reimagines lingerie as a distinct catalyst for power.
Top image: Screenshot from Amazon Prime's Savage x Fenty Show Vol. 2
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Olivia Simonds is a graduate of Clark University with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and a minor in English literature and creative writing. Much of her work is inspired by long subway rides, her friendships, and the perpetual pulse of New York City, where she grew up and still lives today.
You can follow her on Instagram @oliviasimonds or on Twitter @livsimondss