'Victoria's Secret who?': Rihanna's Savage x Fenty NYFW runway wins over fans and shows what VS could be

Slick Woods, center, and models pose at the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during New York Fashion Week at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)

Savage x Fenty may still be in its infancy as a lingerie label, but its pop star turned designer Rihanna has made sure the brand is already light-years ahead of Victoria’s Secret when it comes to showing size-inclusivity and diversity on its runway.

Rihanna closed out New York Fashion Week on Wednesday night with her most epic fashion show to date for Savage x Fenty — at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was transformed into a botanical space filled with exotic florals, hydroponics, and, of course, lingerie.

Strutting the catwalk were top models including Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Joan Smalls, and a diverse and inclusive group spanning all sizes, shapes, and ethnicities. Plus-size models were intermixed with those who were petite; Asian and black models commingled; and top models shared the spotlight with those who are up-and-coming.

Gigi Hadid walks the runway for the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during New York Fashion Week on Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)
Plus-size models at the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during NYFW at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)
Bella Hadid walks the runway for the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during NYFW at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)

In one particularly spectacular moment, two visibly pregnant models walked the stage as the crowd cheered them on. One of the expectant mothers was 22-year-old Slick Woods, also RiRi’s model muse, who announced her pregnancy in July and on Wednesday bared her pregnant belly, wearing only black pasties and a revealing dominatrix-style lingerie set. A second pregnant model danced her way along the runway in a white sheer bodysuit.

Pregnant model Slick Woods walks the runway for the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during NYFW at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sept.12, 2018, in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo: Getty Images)

The entire show was provocative, alluring, and basically unlike any other New York Fashion Week event — particularly when models came down the runway doing interpretive, animalistic dances, embodying Rihanna’s “savage” world.

Models dance down the runway for the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during NYFW at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sept. 12, 2018, in Brooklyn, N.Y. (Photo: Getty Images)

Since the show, fans on social media have been praising the singer turned designer for “changing the view on what models are expected to be,” as one Twitter user wrote. Bella Hadid took to Instagram to thank Rihanna for the show, describing it as “electric” and saying every woman “felt so beautiful.”

Others on Twitter were quick to compare the Savage x Fenty show to that of Victoria’s Secret, with warnings that the mainstream lingerie company should “watch out.” Others asked, cheekily, “Victoria’s Secret who?”









The Victoria’s Secret show is the largest lingerie runway show of its kind. In recent years, however, the brand has received criticism for the annual show’s lack of diverse representation.

Last year, plus-size model Ashley Graham called out Victoria’s Secret for its size-diversity problem on Instagram by simply posting a photo of herself with Photoshopped wings, along with the caption, “Got my wings! … My #AdditionElle wings! #thickthighssavelives.” 

As of now, it looks like this year’s VS show won’t be any different than usual when it comes to size-inclusivity. With more than 50 models already cast, none are plus-size. However, the label is making some progress when it comes to racial diversity. This year, for the first time, the brand hired a Filipino model, Kelsey Merritt. In 2017, VS included eight Chinese models, doubling the number from the previous year.

And when it comes to including expectant mothers on the runway, VS isn’t all that behind, as models Irina Shayk, Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge, and Alessandra Ambrosio have all walked the VS runway pregnant.

Models pose during the Savage X Fenty Fall/Winter 2018 fashion show during NYFW at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sept. 12, 2018. (Photo: Getty Images)

This marks Rihanna’s second release since debuting her Savage x Fenty line in May. The new fall 2018 line is full of triangle bralettes, thongs, sheer bodysuits, and lingerie in playful animal prints, regal jewel tones, and shades of nude. The collection — which has bra sizes in 32A-40DDD and bottoms and sleepwear in sizes XS-3X — is affordable too, with items retailing for as little as $12.50 and up to $115.

You can shop the new collection at savagex.com, with new items becoming available through December,  just in time for the holiday season.

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