The most famous thong of the last decade was, of course, worn by Rihanna. It was at the 2014 CFDA Awards, where the musician would receive the Fashion Icon Award, and she had turned up in a blush pink crystal net dress designed by Adam Selman. The slinky column was entirely see-through, sparking media frenzy and shifting the red carpet fashion narrative away from ballroom gowns and Old Hollywood fishtail numbers. But back to the thong. It was flesh-toned, but not exactly matched to Rihanna’s skin. As such, she has said that not wearing a crystal thong under that crystal dress is her only regret in life. Selman, the dress’s designer, begs to disagree.
“I’ve been very upfront with her that I didn’t necessarily agree with her about a crystal thong underneath the CFDA dress,” Selman smirks. “My regret is that I wish it had been perfectly dyed to match her skin.”
Six years after their Swarovski-covered collaboration changed celebrity fashion forever, Rihanna and Selman are back together making thongs. Only these are neither skin colored nor crystal-studded. For the singer’s Savage X Fenty lingerie brand, Selman has whipped up some deliciously naughty knickers, bras, and accessories that will be vying to be this decade’s most popular undergarments—especially when worn by Rihanna in the collaboration’s campaign.
In a palette of red and black, the collection features heart pasties, full zip around underwear, and cup-less bras—exactly the sorts of things that could make any person feel as sexy as Rihanna. “It was actually really fun just to kind of dive in and not feel any restriction about it being too sexy or not sexy enough,” Selman says. “ I think it really ended up the perfect balance of sweet, savory, and super sexy.”
Rihanna, who has worked with Selman for years, first approached the designer to collaborate with Savage X in 2018. “When she started Savage, she wanted something different than what was in the market and she wanted it to be unapologetic. I think that the history we have working together, I sort of take a very similar approach with my designing and I know how she likes to look at things.” Frederick’s of Hollywood and vintage lingerie have long featured on Selman’s moodboards, first at his eponymous collection and now at his activewear line. The latter, in fact, helped inspire some of the fits and functions of the Savage X pieces.
“Having an activewear collection, I definitely think about how women move and how bodies move and the real function of clothes now,” he says. “And I think that lingerie is strictly for the wearer. It’s not for the wearer’s partner, whoever that might be. I really think that it’s for the person wearing it, and it’s supposed to empower them in whatever scenario they’re in. That’s a mentality I tried to bring to my activewear too. I really think it’s supposed to empower and embolden.”
It would be hard not to feel bold in cut-out bralettes—just look to the models at Rihanna’s second Savage X Fenty show for the proof. There, models sported Selman’s red pieces on the catwalk. “I didn’t even know that my pieces were going to be in it! I was really thrilled to see it,” he says of the show. “I think that Rihanna is just so good at creating those moments for herself, for the brand, and in her music. She’s just really smart on knowing how to capture movement and also make sure that she’s on the pulse of what she’s saying, who she’s speaking to, and making sure that it’s in the Rihanna brand. I think everyone’s just still trying to catch up to her in that regard.”
The Adam Selman x Savage X Fenty collection is available now at SavageX.com