Rihanna: love your undies, but where’s the next album?
It has been a week of boom and bust for Rihanna fans as the singer hosted her second Savage x Fenty fashion show at New York fashion week, to a standing ovation.
The only fashion shows I’ve ever been to, all two of them, were by unknown designers, took place in cold and remote buildings that could easily have been gangland interrogation sites and felt a bit like being in the school gym at 2am, after being taken hostage by the local am-dram society.
This was a big production and was so exclusive that attendees had their phones locked away so no shaky footage could leak before its streaming debut. It will be broadcast on Amazon Prime, along with a behind-the-scenes film. I love the bombastic blockbuster spectacle of it all.
If you’re in the business of flogging undies, you might as well do it with style. Trumpeting pants with such big fanfare used to be the preserve of Victoria’s Secret, which became notorious for the punishing “preparation” its models would undertake for the show in order to look, well, impossible to emulate. The brand has had a rocky year, with its chief marketing office, Ed Razek, retiring last month, having caused a ruckus late last year after by expressing hostility to trans and plus-size models. The show was no longer to be broadcast on network television, following declining ratings and reports suggest that it has been cancelled entirely this year.
There is a sense that there is a changing of the guard and the timing could not be better for Savage x Fenty. It used its celebratory, festival-esque atmosphere to prove that its products work on and for all kinds of women’s bodies, just as it did last year, when the show featured 14 plus-size and two pregnant models, just as Rihanna did at her Fenty pop-up in June, where the mannequins scandalously had curves and hips.
“You, me, trans women, women of all sizes, paraplegic women, all women are important women! All women belong here, on the biggest platform I can give them,” Rihanna told Elle, backstage.
That’s the boom. The, ahem, bust is that Rihanna is so busy being a mogul that she hasn’t finished her new album, despite excitable rumours of music being on its way later this year. When asked if she would headline the 2020 Super Bowl, she said: “I still got an album to finish… my fans about to have my neck.” I’m still waiting for the follow-up to Anti. The lord giveth and he taketh away.
Ryan Murphy: so many shows, so little time
Ever since Popular in 1999, I have loved Ryan Murphy’s TV shows with the fervour of a football fan, and if he ever brought out scarves, I would wear one. I even stuck with Glee until the bitter end, when it felt less like a fresh-faced ingenue and more like Bette Davis in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?.
After years of making comedy dramas that I would have called camp, though Murphy hates the word and prefers “baroque”, he has turned into a TV giant and after signing a blockbuster deal with Netflix in 2018 the Hollywood Reporter referred to him as “TV’s first $300m man”.
Finally, we are seeing the first fruit of that deal, with an astonishing amount to come. The Politician is due this month and takes Murphy back to high school for an Election-esque romp through amateur politics. Outside Netflix, he’ll tackle the Bill Clinton scandal in the next American Crime Story, with the involvement of Monica Lewinsky, while the imminent ninth American Horror Story has gone full 1980s Point Horror 80s. He recently told Time magazine that he has 15 projects in the works. “I say I can’t keep going at this pace. But then I have a full physical, and it’s like, I’m fine,” he said. Phew.
Andrew Scott: sexuality is a way of life, not a rebellious act
Andrew Scott must be perpetually surprised that his fame as the ultimate Sherlock villain and a great modern Hamlet has been superseded by fame that comes from a role calling for a dog collar and a penchant for G&T in a can.
The Hot Priest, a phrase that, despite its ubiquity, I cannot think about without reaching for the nearest G&T in a can, the blame for which lies in a Catholic childhood, won a GQ award for his “standout performance” in Fleabag. Scott told GQ that being referred to as an “openly gay” actor “implies a defiance I don’t feel”.
Along with people who sit on the aisle seat of the bus while leaving their bag on the window seat, and look at you as if you have inconvenienced their bag by wondering why it’s there, hearing or seeing famous gay people described as “openly gay” is a bugbear of mine.
It harks back to the bad old days when the vast majority of queer people in the public eye were closeted and being courageous enough to discuss one’s sexuality in a hostile climate was noteworthy because it was so rare. I appreciate that there are bigger fish to fry in the battle for equality, as there are in the battle for consideration on public transport, too, but it’s nice to hear Scott addressing a point that’s as important as it is subtle.
“You’re never described as openly gay at a party,” he said. I suggest that anyone who disagrees with him might start describing their gay friends as “openly gay” at parties, at work, in cafes, at the pub, and we can see how well that works out for everyone.