Rihanna’s collaboration with Puma, which has shown in Paris for the last two seasons, made an impressive return to New York Fashion Week with a Park Avenue Armory show that melded motocross and retro surf into a high-octane assortment that unspooled against the backdrop of gigantic pink sand dunes over which motocross riders vaulted spectacularly to open the show.
Grounded in a color palette of blue with pops of olive drab, orange and neon pink, the spring and summer 2018 Fenty Puma by Rihanna runway collection served up silhouettes that ranged from super-baggy to curve-hugging, with a more-than-liberal sprinkling of strap, buckle and bungee cord details.
The motocross influence came by way of one-piece body-conscious “race suits,” racing-style stripes and fonts and checkered-flag details that ran down the arms of zip-front hoodies, up the legs of track pants and around the waistbands of mesh booty shorts.
Water-sport references included surfer-appropriate retro palm-tree prints, the words “wet” and “drowning” splashed across tops and light outerwear, pink-neon-accented zippers and neoprene fabrications throughout — including in a version of the lines popular creeper shoe with bungee-cord laces. But the biggest splash in this department came by way of swimwear, a first in the partnership with Puma — wetsuit-inspired bathing suits, bikinis, a couple of navel-bearing one-pieces and hooded terrycloth après-swim gear that hits the cabana-meets-the-street sweet spot.
Instead of a traditional show-ending runway bow, Rihanna waved to the crowd from the back of a motocross bike that sped around the catwalk. It was a moment of pure showmanship that would have looked ridiculous done by anybody else, but executed by Ri Ri, it perfectly encapsulated the badass bad-girl DNA of her Puma partnership.
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