Rihanna kept her fans waiting for nearly two hours on Friday at Bloomingdale’s. But no matter. The hard-core Rihanna crowd was happy to sway to her music and mouth every word of every one of her songs played by DJ Pedro. “I’m still in love with you, boy… ” “Time to get schooled,” said the invitation to the launch of the Fenty x Puma by Rihanna fall 2017 collection, which was billed as a pep rally for Fenty U.
Bloomingdale’s second floor — akak Fenty country — was outfitted with a podium that said Fenty U. Props such as bullhorns and pom-poms were strewn about, and about a dozen fans were chosen to sit on benches, like the cheering squad. Given Fenty x Puma items to wear over their clothes by Bloomingdale’s staffers, nobody donned the merchandise, except for the caps.
Asked if this was his scene, Tony Spring, Bloomingdale’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, “This is Rihanna, Fenty and Bloomingdale’s scene. It’s been a good business for us. She has a nice feel for product and style. She’s an icon in the entertainment world and has a true passion for the fashion business. Our culture is influenced by people with multiple talents and [prominence] in social media.”
Jeneba, who arrived at Bloomingdale’s at 6 a.m. and waited to see her idol, said, “I have love for Rihanna, but it was freezing.” Tamara, who was standing next to her, said she showed up at the store at midnight to make sure she got to go inside.
When Rihanna finally, somewhat anticlimactically, arrived, she was preceded by models wearing Fenty Puma looks from the collection. A marching band swaggered down an aisle, then parted to make way for the Queen and Rihanna bounded onto the stage. “I never went to university, but if I did, it would be this one,” said the singer, adding, “I have to say a special thank you to Puma for giving me all the things to be creative and free. All right, let’s have fun.”
With that, Rihanna greeted some of her fans and let them take selfies with her. Then, she slipped behind the stage and was gone. But not so fast, Bloomingdale’s Spring said, “She’s going to spend some time with our best customers.”