Every year since it’s conception, Savage x Fenty has graced our TV screens to provide us with perhaps some of the most exhilarating and electrifying fashion shows to exist. Prior to its debut in 2018, Rihanna had a reputation for putting together shows with some of the most incredible visual feats around like her Puma motocross show for New York Fashion Week in 2017, or her Marie Antoinette inspired show for Paris Fashion Week. Regardless of the time, Rihanna has a way of ensuring that her fashion shows are not just models walking on a runway.
Now, four years into the thunderous presence that is Savage X Fenty, Rihanna has taken to giving us amazing fashion shows by way of Amazon Prime for all of our viewing pleasures. Three volumes in, fashion fanatics all over the world and every day onlookers find themselves enthralled by Rihanna’s amazing fashion shows. Aside from the incredible lingerie pieces Rihanna curates, we get the very rare chance to see models of all shapes, sizes, races, gender identities, and religions walk the runway and give us high octane dance numbers, all while giving representation we otherwise may not see.
I often find myself criticizing high fashion brands for leaving out models who actually represent the outlook of society. Brands like Victoria Secret denounced the idea of allowing trans models to walk the runway just after a SavageX show. For ages, Victoria Secret has been criticized for presenting their lingerie on models who looked nothing like the everyday women who were shopping there. Women often felt as though these shows were a bit of a slap in the face, but then, in came SavageX.
The first show boasted models with prosthetics, models who were plus sized, trans models, and even pregnant models like Slick woods at the time. Rihanna had managed to make just about everyone feel seen and she had done it on her very first show for Savage x Fenty during fashion week. The spectacle that was the show was heralded as innovative and was celebrated for the inclusion it had provided without seeming exploitative.
And now, in its third volume, Rihanna has once again managed to ensure that just about every kind of person you could think of is included in her show.
Why is this so important?
A while back I wrote an article that delved into the issues that Hollywood is having with diversity and why having diversity is so important. You can read that article here. With the world being an ever changing mix of people, it is important to show everyone in spaces where they may otherwise not be seen and SavageX is doing just this. Can you recall a time when so many different body types were shown in lingerie and they were being celebrated? In my 20 years, I cannot. This simple truth is exactly why the SavageX show is so important.
The runway in a Rihanna show is certain to ensure that everyone feels seen. Models of all colors, shapes, and sizes are sure to see themselves on the runway. In last year’s show, Rihanna debuted her male collection and even then she had men of all shapes, sizes, and orientations modeling loungewear and lingerie in a way that, again, did not seem exploitative or meant to fulfill her diversity requirement.
I always like to listen to Rihanna when she speaks about how she goes about approaching diversity in her shows. Her answer is: she doesn’t approach diversity; it is simply a natural understanding that the world does not look like one thing. This in turn leaves no room to meet a “quota” for what it means to be diverse, it simply happens. This simple idea and these practices show that diversity is not something that should require much thought. If the world is made up of all these different kinds of people, why do we continue to rely on just one group to represent us all?
Fashion shows like the SavageX show are so important because they help not only employ a diverse group of people, but it once again allows for representation to happen naturally in an exhilarating way. Not only do these people get to feel seen, but they get to do so in perhaps one of the grandest ways possible.
The SavageX fashion show should work as a blueprint for Hollywood to show casting directors as well as storytellers and the like, showing that employing a diverse group of people is not a difficult thing to do and doing so can allow for wider audiences to feel seen and heard. The SavageX show is so important because it acts as a pillar for what diversity should look like. It shouldn’t look or feel forced; it should happen as naturally and as fluidly as these shows pull it off. Diversity should not be just a thought that occurs in one’s mind, it should simply happen because this is the way the world works. There should not be boardroom meetings discussing which actors and actresses or models should act as the diversity hire for the event or show or movie. The aim should always be to ensure that whoever sits down to watch or consume whatever media they do feels seen enough to be considered for a major production.
This idea and this truth is exactly why the Savage X Fenty shows are so important, and why I will enjoy them for as long as they continue to happen.