Rihanna has landed at the mall. Her Savage X Fenty brand of high-gloss, super-sexy lingerie and intimates is opening five stores in shopping malls across the United States this month, first in Las Vegas, and then Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Houston. “Our expectation is you won’t be able to walk past these stores and not go in, even if you’re not in the market for lingerie,” says Savage X Fenty’s co-president and chief marketing officer. Natalie Guzman.
For those among us who would blindly follow Rihanna into the depths of hell, yes, you will definitely go into the Savage X Fenty retail store. But what the store design and technology aim to do is bring everyone into the Savage universe, even those not shopping for lingerie or—seemingly impossible in this day and age—those not under Rihanna’s spell.
The first thing mall denizens will notice is the store’s radiating color palette. Unlike other intimates retailers that have cultivated a boudoir aesthetic, Savage X Fenty’s stores bring the adrenaline of its filmed runway shows into its bricks-and-mortar retail. Neon lights in fuchsia, emerald, and sapphire illuminate the space. The playlist will “definitely have the Savage vibe,” says chief merchant and co-president Christiane Pendarvis, “and there might be a little Rihanna in there,” she winks. Mannequins span a diverse range of body types, with some forms made from 3D scans of human Savage models. “We want to make sure whoever you are as a customer, you see yourself in our stores—and that’s not just the marketing and what we’re doing in terms of things like mannequins and imagery, but also the people that are there to help service and support you,” continues Pendarvis. “We frankly just don’t know how to operate in any other different way.”
The sexy inclusivity of Savage is expected by fans, but what might not be is the level of technology embedded in each physical store. “We’re not necessarily known as a technology brand, but we’re taking this opportunity to really merge physical and digital in a way that we just haven’t seen done in the mall, particularly not in this category where fit and comfort in your body and confidence is so important,” says Pendarvis. The company partnered with Fit:Match to launch Fit Xperience, a body scanning app powered by LiDAR with at least two devices in each store that allows customers to get a 3D scan of the body and product recommendations based on what might flatter them best.
“It’s not intended to a replace the expertise of an associate, but it it’s an amazing way to get a really accurate view of an individual’s body and make personalized recommendations based on our assortment. We think this is going to be a game changer for us.”
In addition to the 3D scan technology, the fitting rooms in Savage X Fenty stores will have different vibe settings so shoppers can try out their looks in the right atmosphere. (Who understands dressing for one’s vibes more than Rihanna?) Hangers are made from compostable wheat byproducts and the entire store design, from its mannequin wall to its interactive spaces, is modular. “It’s inspired by the idea of a dollhouse,” says Guzman. “We wanted to be able to have this endless merchandising ability and to always be able to change the spaces so we can continue to deliver the best Savage experience.” The space also intends to be selfie-ready from any angle: “The entire store is highly Instagramable,” affirms Guzman.
But don’t just take it from Rihanna’s business partners. The musician, icon, and entrepreneur—and, I would add, expert shopper—is certain that her fans will find her mark throughout the Savage space. “The store tells a story and is highly focused on a true experience. Every detail was curated carefully to immerse people in the brand and elevate the consumer experience, while being playful, welcoming and fun.” Rihanna says. “We wanted to be able to connect with our customers in real life and give them something they have never seen before. Creating the space took a lot of imagination, married with things I’ve always wanted to change about my own experiences as a customer myself, from mannequins to the Fit Xperience, to customer service. We are so happy with the outcome and now I can’t wait for people to see it.”