It is not every day that a full marching band welcomes shoppers to Bloomingdale’s 59th street flagship. Then again, it’s not every day that Rihanna is at Bloomingdale’s. On Friday morning, the singer arrived at the midtown store to much fanfare (there were also plenty of dedicated actual fans, some of whom had been waiting outside since the early hours of the particularly crisp fall day) as she celebrated the arrival of her Fall 2017 collection for Fenty x Puma.
For the occasion, the musician, actress, and designer crafted a full-scale high school pep rally, complete with cheerleaders, banners, and yes, a marching band. (By the looks of a crowd, attendance in New York high schools may have been a bit lacking). It was all a nod to the school theme of the fall collection—because as we all know, Rihanna never shies away from a theme.
Before heading down to address the class of Fenty Fall 2017, Rihanna made a quick appearance in Bloomingdale’s makeshift green room (the personal dressing suite on any other day). “It is crazy. I did not expect a welcome like that,” Rihanna told W. “It was so thrilling and big and exciting. I enjoyed it. It felt very special.”
Here, Rihanna opens up about her own high school experience, embracing size-inclusion, and why fashion should always be fun.
What was your high school like for you? Do you look back fondly on it?
I was a bit of a loner at times. Cadets was my one outlet. I didn’t do any sports, I just did cadets. Little things that you learn in cadets follow you all through your life. Even the way I line my toiletries from tallest to smallest. The discipline really sticks with you. I enjoyed it. I kind of still am that same way. I like to be able to dip in and out of the scene. I like to dip in, but I like to dip out when I’m ready to be by myself and watch TV.
What are you watching on TV right now?
Anything that is a documentary or reality TV. Anything that has the word “wife” in it. And every city. It doesn’t matter [if they are good.] I like watching real situations and real reactions; I’m just obsessed. Even when it is terrible, that makes me want to watch it even more.
For documentaries, are you into true crime?
Oh, murder! Anything murder-y. Snapped, The First 48, anything mystery docu-series, I love. I always feel weird when people come over and are like, “What do you have to watch?” And I’m like, “Uh, Snapped.”
This event is pretty huge, and you always put on a major show during fashion week. Why do you think it is important for fashion to be fun?
Everything has to be fun for me. I have so much on my plate, so if I’m not enjoying then I feel like I’m working and it feels like a chore. I’m more passionate about things that I enjoy.
With Fenty Beauty, you talk about how important it is to have a range for a very diverse group of people. How do you incorporate that mentality into your Fenty Puma line?
I want to make things for all body types. That was very intentional when I first started, even back with River Island. With [Fenty x Puma], I have so much freedom. I want everybody in my crew to have something. You don’t just design for yourself. You use your taste as the muse of everything. I like to play around with silhouettes. Trust me, I could always use a good fat day outfit. I like to be comfortable.
You are so good at wearing new designers, and getting designer runway looks right after they hit the runway. What is your secret?
My secret weapon! I just use mind tricks. I enjoy new perspective. I get bored really easily, so I love when things can trigger an inspiration in my mind. Things I love the most are the things that I get jealous that I didn’t think of or come up with myself. Young, fresh, new perspective—even from Parsons students, who are so great. Matthew Adams Dolan, who was one of those students, has become one of my favorite designers and we have had the pleasure of working together.
What in fashion really excites you right now?
I love a good shoulder-pad. I never think that should go out of style. A broad shoulder makes a small waist, and I like that idea, a lot. I realize Celine and Balenciaga, which are two brands that I really love right now, are getting into stuff like that in their latest collection, and it is really amazing.
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