It was just a quiet night in the library with Rihanna. For her third Fenty Puma collection, RiRi paraded her fall collection at Paris’ Bibliothèque Nationale de France, where the stacks probably hadn’t seen this much excitement since the Dewey Decimal System was installed. There was very little reading being done. The long tables at which the audience sat, a classic green library lamp for just about every place, became the runway, as the models strutted by in riffs on private school plaids, letterman sweaters and jackets, basketball shorts, track suits, boxers and jerseys. There were wayward Catholic school girls, sexy jocks, punks and Goths — all done up with a major dose of Rihanna’s DGAF attitude.
After the show, she said going back to school thematically was a way to relive her school days and do all the things she wasn’t allowed to when she was a kid. “In Barbados, we don’t get to dress up in school,” said Rihanna. “It’s strictly school uniforms. Every time I would come to America, I would see kids getting into dressing up…this was my way of expressing myself in that avenue, having fun, creating looks that blended with the different cliques and marrying that world with sport.” The collection was fun, impressively staged and full of good energy, which is no easy feat at 9 p.m. on the second-to-last day of the four-week fashion week haul.
A skateboard-toting female model in a long plaid robe of a puffer jacket, boxer shorts and no shirt set the tone for Rihanna’s bad gal school dress code. There was a cropped Puma pantha logo sweater worn with mixed navy and green plaid track pants and a big stuffed teddy bear backpack. An exaggerated sweater dress came in navy and yellow varsity stripes emblazoned with the year 1988. A corseted cropped T-shirt was worn with baggy basketball shorts and over-the-knee, lace-up boots based on classic Puma sneakers. The palette was based on traditional school colors — and then black and tan for the Goth kids who closed the show in aggressively oversized hooded faux-fur coats and sweats.
The look was quite different from Rihanna’s previous two collections — the first Japanese-Goth inspired, the second girly, sweet Marie Antionette-sport — but the mood was the same. Rihanna is reportedly working with different designers each season, but the end result reflects her very distinct, personal point of view. The lineup was full of a lot of clothes for real kids to realistically wear — puffers, windbreakers, hoodies and track pants, that were much cooler than Rihanna’s own school uniform. “It was like a khaki dress that zips up in the front and a blue and yellow belt with black shoes,” she recalled. “That sounds like fun, right?”