TheGrio Style Guide: Rih wants us to relax, Lil Nas X’s new gig, and this week in style

TheGrio's weekly style folio features the best, buzziest and Blackest fashion news. So who wore it best?

Hello, style lovers! Welcome to theGrio’s weekly style folio, #OnTrend, your one-stop shop for all of the week’s Black-tastic fashion news. What’s new as we transition into September? A few new drops, an exciting new gig, and some very big names…plus, a warmup for New York Fashion Week, September 2022. So scroll down and get caught up!

Rihanna Savage X Fenty style
Rihanna is seen out and about in Manhattan on August 13, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images)

Savage X Fenty introduces “Lounge”

After welcoming her first child this spring, Rihanna has undoubtedly experienced a lifestyle — and style — shift. Similarly, the newest collection for her Savage X Fenty label reflects a more relaxed approach to “innerwear” than we’ve previously seen from the brand, as it now ventures into loungewear with an assortment of “elevated basics.”

“I wanted to bring comfort and realness to everyday pieces that can be styled in whatever way lets you do you,” said Rihanna in a statement to Women’s Wear Daily.

Actress Jordan Alexander (Gossip Girl) for Savage X Fenty Lounge
Screenshot: Savage X Fenty (YouTube)

That’s right, along with Savage X Fenty’s highly coveted, barely-there lingerie, you can now buy more utilitarian styles designed to be taken “from the sofa to the streets.” Dropping on September 8, the Lounge collection includes “joggers, hoodies, T-shirts, onesies, slips, tank tops, shorts and leggings,” according to WWD — just in time for a seasonal shift to more time spent indoors.

Lil Nas X says the category is “campness” at YSL

In addition to shutting it down in gender-fluid style at Sunday’s MTV VMAs (below), Lil Nas X announced a gorgeous new gig this week — he’s the newest U.S. ambassador for YSL (Yves Saint Laurent) Beauty. Joining the likes of Zoë Kravitz, Indya Moore and Dua Lipa, the Grammy-winning musician is now yet another face of the brand’s makeup as well as a face of its men’s fragrance, Y (with YSL’s fashion no doubt also playing a prominent role).

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 28: Lil Nas X attends the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Catherine Powell/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global )

“Lil Nas X embodies YSL Beauté’s vision for the future of the beauty industry: boundary-breaking, unique, unapologetic, bold,” Laetitia Raoust, U.S. general manager of YSL Beauty, told WWD.

As for Lil Nas X, he said in a statement: “…I’m happy to be a part of something so unique and groundbreaking in the beauty world…Shoutout to YSL for embracing me and my campness and for inspiring change for the next generation of beauty.” 

Serena shone bright like a diamond at the US Open

She may have given her final twirl in professional tennis, but Serena Williams was clearly determined to go out in dazzling style. In addition to thrilling crowds with dynamic performances in the first and second rounds of the US Open this week, she collaborated with longtime sponsor Nike on a ‘fit befitting her legendary brilliance on the court.

Serena Williams during the Women’s Singles Third Round match on Day Five of the 2022 US Open on September 02, 2022 in New York City.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

As reported by Nike, the tennis dress donned by Williams on both days of the competition was “inspired by graceful competition dresses worn by figure skaters.” Williams, who also helms an eponymous fashion label, reportedly took a hands-on approach, “providing the full vision and dialing the details,” which included a six-layer skirt in honor of Williams’ six prior US Open wins. In another nod to the open-air arena in Flushing, NY, the crystal-studded, star-like design on the dress’s bodice, matching jacket and tote “refracts light and shines brightly, alluding to the night sky at the tournament.”

Undoubtedly, the pièce de résistance is Serena’s NikeCourt Flare 2s. Customized with her initials in gold and a diamond-encrusted “Swoosh,” Nike also noted that “the solid gold deubrés on the laces feature 400 hand-set diamonds in black ceramic created in collaboration with Serena Williams Jewelry.” Call it a Grand Slam in style.

Riddim and revival

Just ahead of the annual West Indian Day Parade Carnival that takes place each Labor Day weekend in Brooklyn, NY, Nike brought back the first of four Air Force 1 colorways initially created in tribute to Caribbean culture in 2002. According to a press release, the Nike AF1 QS ‘West Indies’ are the result of a collaboration with street style brand Extra Butter and Black-owned Caribbean organization I AM caribBEING. The shoes launched last week with an in-store celebration at Extra Butter’s Lower East Side flagship. 

Photos: Courtesy of Adidas

As described by Hypebeast in a tease of the design this July, the 20th-anniversary edition is expected to retail for $140 USD and features “white tumbled leathers with a green leather tab on the heel … Highlighting the design are ‘West Indies’ palm tree graphics embroidered on the heel counter, displayed on the lace [deubrés], and incorporated on the ‘Anniversary Edition’ tongue tabs … [Its] insoles feature a gridded list of the Caribbean islands.”

As Hypebeast reminds us, the 20th-anniversary release of the Nike Air Force 1 Low Anniversary Edition “West Indies” also coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Air Force 1. To honor both the sneaker’s long-awaited return and the parade, Extra Butter and I AM caribBEING also collaborated on “a guide to Little Caribbean,” highlighting local New York businesses. 

Did Fashion Nova nab a Hanifa design?

With fast fashion already under rightful scrutiny for its labor practices and lack of sustainability, we can add a lack of originality to the mix. As reported by Fashionista, fast-fashion favorite Fashion Nova was called out early this week for a dress that clearly riffed on one (or ripped off one) created by Black-owned luxury fashion label Hanifa

Anifa Mvuemba of Hanifa (second from right) and Lindsay Peoples Wagner (far right), with (from left) models at Teen Vogue Celebrates Generation Next at Studio 525 on September 09, 2019 in New York City.
(Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images for Teen Vogue)

The knockoff was pointed out by Hanifa’s award-winning founder and Creative Director Anifa Mvuemba, who tweeted a side-by-side of her floor-length, multicolored Jax Knit Gown alongside a thinner, midlength version with the same graphic colorways from an unidentified e-commerce site. “Only because this sample took me monthssss to perfect,” she wrote in part, declining to tag the site in question.

While Mvuemba was gracious enough not to name the culprit, her followers did the work for her, recognizing the imitator as Fashion Nova’s Sahara Sweater Maxi Dress. Aside from differences in length and likely inferior construction and materials, the fast-fashion version retailed for $49.99, compared to the $459 cost of Hanifa’s sold-out original.

The lower price tag may be appealing, but the appearance of stealing is not a good look—and this is not Fashion Nova’s first entanglement with an independent Black designer. But despite somewhat ambiguous U.S. copyright laws that make it possible for Fashion Nova and similar brands to produce garments “inspired” by high fashion looks, following the callout, the Sahara Sweater Maxi Dress was removed from its site without comment.

Harlem’s Fashion Row partners with LVMH, debuts award in honor of Virgil Abloh

It’s a party 15 years in the making; Harlem’s Fashion Row sets the tone for New York Fashion Week (Sept. 9 – Sept. 14) with its 15th annual Fashion Show and Style Awards on Sept. 6. This year, the acclaimed agency and advocacy group founded by Brandice Daniel (below) for fashion talents of color has partnered with LVMH (Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton) to produce its annual showcase of Black designers and industry honors, which will include a new award in tribute to late designer Virgil Abloh.

Harlem’s Fashion Row CEO and Founder Brandice Daniel speaks during the AAFA American Image Awards on April 26, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for AAFA American Image Awards)

As reported by Business of Fashion, Shannon Abloh, CEO and Marketing Director of Virgil Abloh Securities, will be on hand to present the award in honor of her late husband. According to a statement, the Virgil Abloh Award “celebrates like-minded individuals who embody Virgil’s spirit, brilliance, and vision, through invaluable contributions to culture, community, and innovation.” Its inaugural recipient will be entertainment trailblazer (and fashion icon) Issa Rae.

The evening’s other honorees will include womenswear designer Sergio Hudson, veteran fashion journalist Robin Givhan, stylist Ade Samuel and “Icon of the Year” Janet Jackson. Designers Nicole Benefield, Johnathon Hayden, and Clarence Ruth of Cotte D’Armes will present their collections at this year’s event.

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