Illustration by Marcus Escobar for an article on Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2

‘Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2’ Embraces Unconventionality

Rihanna's latest fashion show is a boundary-pushing storm of sensuality and self-expression, reimagining what it is to be sexy.
October 15, 2020
6 mins read

All that’s gold does not glitter; it explodes with the brilliance of light, and that’s exactly what “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2” did. The show is a mosaic of body fluidity and heterogeneity, and it is this spectacular combination that causes it to radiate with the grace and nimbleness of its dancers.

Savage X Fenty reimagines sex and recalibrates figures as poetry. It seamlessly allows bodies of varying proportions, religions, genders, sexualities and ages to portray what savagery and sexiness are to them.

These bodies are not stereotypically model-like. Rihanna employs a diverse cast of characters, performers, models and dancers, the show honoring frames of varying appearances and colors. In “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2,” Rihanna declares forthrightly: “Inclusivity for me has always been something second nature.” It is clear to viewers that if the world does not make a place for you, Rihanna will.

Just as the show embraces a multiplicity of textures and cloths through the delicate but durable fabrics used on its garments, it accentuates risqué looks juxtaposed with elegant lace, modeled by people who are bold and outspoken. They’re in-your-face with the unadulterated starkness of their gazes and the fierce manner in which they exhibit their styling, serving face and body.

Quite frankly, they’re sexy and they know it, and that is the power of Savage X Fenty. Diverse, inclusive bodies are the centerpiece, none of whom are pretending to be something they’re not. They’re wonderfully, authentically savage and they own it wholeheartedly.

The show at its core reads like a diary entry — raw, revealing, exhibitionist-like. Aptly fitting, during the show, there’s a collection titled “Dear Diary.” The mechanisms of the lighting, design and voice-overs all seem to communicate the poignancy contained within Rihanna’s diaries, her vision of fashion, fun and bodily autonomy. Viewers get an intimate look into what Rihanna likes — her tastes, her creative touch, her motivations and sparks.

Her diary unveils the thoughts behind Rihanna’s creative process and her inspirations. Viewers learn, for instance, that she gets into trouble at museums because she has to feel the textures and consistencies of the fabrics she sees on display. They also learn that she’s an incredibly hard worker with an eye for beautiful aesthetics and color schemes. Her primary mode is feeling; her style is activated according to her moods and sensations.

The “Dear Diary” segment was one of the most profound moments of the show because it illuminated what drives Rihanna’s success in the industry and in most of her other endeavors: her critical instincts and stellar intuition.

Rihanna feels in a very unfeeling world, touching and exploring the range of what is available to her. This is an instrumental part of her being — not just her creative process — and perhaps the life and soul of Savage X Fenty. It’s also what makes her work so sensational — her focus on what feels good. Because she identifies it within herself, she has an incredible knack for discovering what makes others feel good, what makes them feel beautiful, sexy and savage.

This is not the first time viewers receive a glimpse into the workings of Rihanna’s mind, however. Early on in the show, Rihanna informs her audience that “storytelling is the last part of any journey. There’s experience and there’s the emotion connected to the experience.”

Just what kind of story is Rihanna attempting to tell with “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2”? It would be a risk to assume to know Rihanna’s interior thoughts, but to take a leap, the guess is that her imagination of beauty involves a rendering of the senses that reawakens one to the reality of the body and sensuality of its movements. Maybe, fashion is not just about beautiful garments. Maybe it’s about sensation, feeling — feeling connected to the body and feeling connected to what makes you grateful to have a body. Isn’t it sexy to confront the reality of all that is you? Rihanna understands this, and centers her show on the embodiment of it.

It is evident that Rihanna considers creating and being actively involved in every aspect as a form of storytelling. She gets to write the narrative of her life. She gets to paint a portrait of sensory experience and feminine expression that serves as an exploration of the body. The feeling of the body’s completeness is what draws this particular viewer to the show, in addition to the knowledge of enticement, and the deep belief that Rihanna will make me feel something.

The show is living proof of the possibility of reimagining the body and sexuality in a light that does not discriminate. It offers a space where all are welcome to freely engage in self-presentation, beyond the confines of rigidly socially defined parameters. That is the beauty and majesty of “Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 2.”

Nnekakwo Adibe, Lesley University

Writer Profile

Nnekakwo Adibe

Lesley University
Sociology and Social Change

I am a full-time college student with a love for language and a passion for writing, music, art, books and poetry. I am currently navigating the art of storytelling.

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