With fashion weeks remaining digital for the foreseeable future, and some designers ditching the traditional, seasonal calendar altogether (Gucci’s Alessandro Michele has declared it “obsolete”), luxury brands are rethinking the ways in which they launch and sell their collections.
For its 6-20 summer collection, Rihanna’s LVMH-owned fashion brand Fenty has divided its offerings into three separate launches, released over the course of a month.
The first was centred around monochrome daywear, while the second featured bold hues and statement slogans.
The third launches on Wednesday, July 15, exclusively on farfetch.com, the first online retail platform to partner exclusively with Fenty. The collection's big finale is a culmination of colour and creativity, celebrating one of summer's biggest textile trends: tie-dye.
It also features a number of heels commissioned by the brand from Jordanian-Romanian shoe designer Amina Muaddi.
Psychedelic prints appear on T-shirts, hoodies and leggings, and are overlayed on pinstriped fabrics used for wrap-style pencil skirts and cropped blouses. A long-sleeved jersey top features collage-like graphic prints with the word “immigrant” emblazoned proudly on the back, while hoodies are stamped with the phrase “beyond the limits” in distorted block letters.
The brand also debuts a jewellery range, featuring brightly coloured, upside-down tulip resin charms on gold and silver-toned brass ball chains.
Some pieces appear as paint-splattered workwear, while others are clear athleisure staples or party pieces, demonstrating a fluidity and multi-faceted versatility that many millennials seek in their wardrobes. It’s a collection that merges youth culture with 1990s nostalgia and undeniable optimism, and it’s reflective of the developments we’re seeing in the wider industry, celebrating individuality, activism and social change.
“We are thrilled to welcome Fenty to the Farfetch platform,” said Giorgio Belloli, chief commercial and sustainability officer at Farfetch. “We’ve long admired Fenty’s innovative approach to luxury fashion retail and the way they champion inclusivity for customers.”
Rihanna, after all, has been at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of the fashion and beauty industries, with her drive to incorporate diversity into the DNA of her businesses by recruiting different races and portraying “real women” while marketing her designs.
The singer’s Fenty Beauty line, which launched in 2017 with a remarkable range of 50 different foundation colours for all types of skin tones, set a new benchmark for inclusivity in the beauty industry.
The debut ad campaign for Fenty Beauty starred Somali hijabi model Halima Aden, who had entered the modelling world that same year, and today, the brand's Instagram feed is dotted with numerous other hijab-wearing models.
Last month, when Instagram accounts across the globe posted black squares in solidarity with the Black Lives Movement, Rihanna took it a step further, shutting down sales across all of her Fenty brand websites. The Fenty Beauty Twitter account called for an end to police brutality in America, asking followers to sign petitions and donate money to the families of Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice and Elijah McClain, who were all killed by police.
In addition to Fenty Beauty, Rihanna has a lingerie label called Savage X Fenty in her portfolio. With controversy swirling around Victoria's Secret's cancelled 2019 show and the brand's ultimately-late-to-the-game announcement of its first plus-sized model, Good Morning America heralded Rihanna's Savage X Fenty lingerie fashion show as "one of the most diverse and inclusive fashion shows ever".
And, earlier this year, Rihanna casted for her summer lingerie campaign through Instagram. Out of the thousands of entries, one of the four winners was Brenda Senyana, a plus-sized black woman, and another was full-figured woman of colour from Hawaii, Kortney Russell.
At the Savage X Fenty New York fashion show in 2019, models wore the brand's size-inclusive designs with fairytale footwear by Muaddi, who has developed a cult following for her signature flare-heeled stilettos – or modern-day Cinderella glass slippers. Rihanna recruited Muaddi for Fenty at the end of 2019, and will be launching the shoes with the rest of her 6-20 final release on July 15.
The designs, which were unveiled for the first time on Tuesday, July 14, include the Caged In sandals, which lace up the foot and ankle, all the way to the calf, with a metallic heel that symbolises the shape and strength of steel nails. Other heeled sandals come in shades of camel, fuchsia and neon green, with square-toed fronts and transparent straps.
For her collaboration with Fenty, Muaddi's charming, fairytale footwear is upgraded with an edgy, utilitarian aesthetic, without compromising on glamour. It's proof that today's fashion consumer may wear hoodies and tie-dye attire, or strappy heels with an asymmetric little black dress.
She requires a wardrobe brimming with options that are both fashionable and functional – whether she’s working from home, dressing up for a Zoom party, or protesting social injustice.