Rihanna/Puma v. Lacoste: sex or active wear?
With a curvy body suit laced up like sneakers and a midi-length hoodie open to reveal thigh-high boots, the Rihanna Fenty collection — adding the family name of the Barbados-born singer — made a fashion wow! for Puma.
Increasing the feeling that New York Fashion Week is team leader in celebrity labels and front rows of the famous, the eyes of the audience at the Rihanna/Puma spectacular were as much on who showed up as on the feisty, oversized clothes.
Given the Arctic blast outside the cavernous Wall Street hall, fur was part of the sporty look, from Naomi Campbell in a snow white fluff jacket to oversized hoody coats on the runway, along with fuzzy muffs. But the big story for Puma, as well as an assortment of rock-your-socks-off sneakers with wedge soles or platform creepers, was the sexual orientation of sportswear.
Sex and sport have not always gone together in fashion, but everything about this Rihanna/Puma show had a seductive, urban feel. In a set lined with whitened trees, the clothes, pitting body consciousness with stretch and oversize, read like a sexed-up fairy tale. As Rihanna herself has put it: Good Girl Gone Bad.
Will it sell? Surely. Rihanna's fashion line for the UK's River Island had this sense of clothes made for the wearer to dance. Puma just has to promote the rebel yell of NYC punk rockers — and hope that no-one tumbles off those platform soles.
Lacoste: retro futurism
There is something precise and modern about Felipe Oliveira Baptista, and he is doing well as Creative Director of Lacoste.
This season, the designer's show notes talked about “retro futurism”, inspired by James Bond chalet life in the 1960s. But the effect of the man/woman looks was anything but passé. Instead, the meld of male and female clothes that the designer has built into Lacoste looks right for the current gender blending.
The strength of this show was in a threesome of ideas: the shapes, the modern fabrics and the colours. Add to the splashes of vivid orange, turquoise and fuchsia pink, the same bright colours in stripes - and the little pixels of early skiers as decoration.
Even if this Creative Director looks back at the Lacoste heritage, he himself has a modern viewpoint. He talked about clothes as a cocoon and the ability to wear them in various different ways. He also cited British-based sculptural artist Martino Gamper as inspiration.
It is the depth of thought that Felipe Oliveira Baptista has brought to Lacoste that has made a difference and pulled the house into the 21st century.
Between Rihanna/Puma and Lacoste there is a different vibe. But I find the latter more contemporary and inspiring.
Picture credit: InDigital