Fenty Reveals Its Debut Shoe Drop Designed by Amina Muaddi
“Jahleel, you have to admit that you slid in my DMs,” begins Amina Muaddi over the phone with Jahleel Weaver, the creative director of Fenty. The pair have jumped on a conference call to discuss Muaddi’s footwear collaboration with Fenty.
The collab has produced some of this summer’s cattiest, most insouciant heels, but most important to note is that these vampish shoes started from a place of friendship.
“This is true. This part of the story is actually true,” Weaver laughs, noting that the pair have mutual friends but didn’t connect until Muaddi launched her eponymous shoe collection in the summer of 2018. “I had purchased some of her shoes for Rihanna for projects we were doing, and I reached out saying I was such a fan. We later scheduled a meet-up and a cocktail from there it’s been history.”
History, in this case, is an on-going partnership between Muaddi and Fenty that debuts today. To those of us outside the Rihanna friend group looking in, Muaddi and her work feel like a perfect fit for the label: powerful, a little sexy but with a clever wink, not too self-serious just like Rihanna herself. “Aside from her immaculate taste, something that I thought was really important between the connection of Amina and Rihanna.
They are both modern women designing for modern women. I think that connection is really, really important. Obviously, Amina thinks about that with her designs in her line and Rihanna thinks about that in everything that she does. There’s something invaluable about women doing it for themselves. That is very important.”
When Weaver moved to Paris to head up Fenty, he started to share his ideas with Muaddi as friends first but, really, it was only a matter of time before the designer got into the mix. “We started talking about the brand and I was very excited to see Rihanna’s launch.
She’s obviously someone I admire and whose work I love and whose style I also admire. It’s iconic. I was excited just as a person what the brand was going to look like,” Muaddi says. “Jahleel would share with me his enthusiasm for us potentially doing something together in the future, so when he told me he was thinking about me collaborating with them on the shoes I immediately said yes.”
Muaddi workshopped her debut collection alongside Rihanna, bringing a different perspective than that of her own label. For Fenty, the shoes are grounded with an architectural metal heel at 10cm, high enough to add a little lift without sacrificing comfort. “It was very exciting to find that Fenty identity. I wanted to start from scratch,” the designer says. “I wanted the shoes to emphasize Fenty’s aesthetic and have Rihanna’s feminine yet edgy vision and style, but do it through my own lens.”
The resulting four styles are a mule, a lace up sandal with crystal, a sandal with PVC straps, and a cage pump that ties all the way up the leg. “It was fun showing Jahleel ideas, and he would give me references and photos he liked,” Muaddi begins. “Jah and I have such a similar aesthetic. We match outfits without even planning it. We show up dressed the same way all the time.”
“It’s actually really weird,” Weaver cuts in.
“He told me which he liked the most and was super happy with the proposal,” she continues. “Later on we had a meeting with Rihanna in London and that’s when we showed her and the other people in the meeting the colored sketches. She chose the ones that she liked the most,” and here they are, available for sale on Fenty’s e-commerce site on July 15th.
Which ones do Muaddi and Weaver expect will sell out first? “You never know when you get the right one,” Muaddi demurs. “In a way, it is similar to the process of making music: You don’t know if something is a hit or not until you listen to it or see it.”
This article originally appeared on Vogue Magazine