Inside the Design of Rihanna’s Slick, Star-Studded Savage x Fenty Fashion Show

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As much as the hotel’s architecture informed the run of show—for example, the elevators are used to transition between scenes—Perron and his team did intervene a bit to take the space from bustling, functioning hotel to camera-ready performance space. “As far as look, it was mostly about cleaning up the building and giving it some identity,” He told AD. “There are a lot of storefronts in the main stair scene, so we had to camouflage and hide all of those using drapes. We also re-carpeted all of the inside areas and some of the exterior areas.”

For transition shots between musical numbers, elevators were transformed into beds to be used as beds.

In this scene Cindy Crawford ascends the hotel stairs.

Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3 Presented by Amazon Prime VideoDiscover AD PRO

When viewers first see Rihanna, she’s writhing on a couch in an area that evokes a VIP section at a nightclub. “The seating pods existed, which are an incredibly iconic part of the architecture, but we remade them for the purpose of choreography and to match the show color,” Perron says.

The use of color in different scenes is important. Normani performs in a red room at one time. However, lighting is a major factor in creating that look. It is very action-movie inspired. “I kept thinking about films in DTLA, these sweaty summer nights and highly saturated films like Heat, lots of Michael Mann films… it’s an exaggerated version of those,” Perron says.

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Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images. Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Show Volume. 3 Presented by Amazon Prime Video

The whole thing was filmed without any audience over the course of a few days, with the team juggling the complicated logistics of shooting inside an open hotel. It all seems like one big late-night dream. Rihanna stands on the hotel roof, soaking in the sunlight and clapping, as it all becomes one big late-night fantasy.

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