Here’s the the first ad from Rihanna’s much-anticipated union with Puma—in which she is a creative director for women’s and muse to the world.
Look at those leggings! That crop top! That dancer’s stance!
If I may meander for a bit: Now that it is nice outside and we are able to explore the streets of New York City without racing furiously from point A to point B, the full measure of the oft-thinkpiece’d “athleisure craze” is hitting me. And make no mistake—right now, the “athleisure craze” is manifesting itself as a fashion-fortified excuse for seemingly normal, grownass humans to walk around in onionskin-thin spinning pants as though they are denim. Hey everybody, we can see your butt! And we know that you’re not really going to spin class because you are wearing a thong and fully made up! Believe me, I know that could also signify you work out at Equinox, but you’re also on a date. Gotcha!
Rihanna is, arguably, one of the progenitors of “athleisure” as we know it, but then so are Uptown 15-year-olds who have been wearing sweatpants and crispy sneakers on the street for the last 20 years, at least. Though Rih’s been posting excellent creeper-fied Puma Clydes on her Instagram since she sealed the deal, there’s nothing revelatory about this ad, barring maybe the existence of the full visor, recalling our stoniest days at a jungle rave. And while her pose invokes an afternoon at Broadway Dance Center, the implication is that Puma’s really going for the Lululemon the street/Lululemon in the sheets crowd. The shoe it is advertising, the new Pulse XT, says it all—reminiscent of the Nike Roshe Run, the favored sneaker of health goths and the proto-athleisurely fashion set (at least before Adidas brought back the Stan Smith, anyway).
Rihanna can do it because Rihanna can do anything, but I’m already tired of seeing yoga pants on the train as casualwear, rather than utilitarian purpose. How long must we ride this dreadful wave? For solace, here is a throwback from Rihanna’s partnership with Nike, back when electro in pop music felt revolutionary and they (“Them”) still made her do choreography, god bless ‘em.
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