Whoopi Goldberg has never been one to chase trends, and in character has worn everything from a nun’s habit to doctor’s scrubs, but in recent years Goldberg has been recharging the battery of fashion by becoming an unexpected style icon.
Dressing down in brands like Vetements and being spotted amongst the throngs of fashion’s elite on the front rows of shows for Hood by Air, Marc Jacobs and Gypsy Sport, she’s ideally situated to offer an authoritative opinion on the looks on parade throughout NYFW. And with her acerbic wit, we couldn’t resist asking her thoughts.
Throughout NYFW, Goldberg will be reviewing a handful of select SS18 shows. Here, she fawns over Fenty Puma by Rihanna’s SS18 collection—a rip-roaring motocross extravaganza shown at the Armory.
WHOOPI GOLDBERG: Fenty Puma by Rihanna was at the Armory, and there were giant, six-foot mounds of what looked to me like Pixie Stix dust. I really wanted to lick it! But I didn’t. We were trying to figure out: why were these mounds here? None of it made sense. Then, the lights go down, the music starts. It was total black and then you suddenly see four, five guys come around and they were on motocross bikes. They were riding around, and then they leave. The door opens and bikes start here and they’re up here and they flip. You can’t even believe it.
It was a true motocross show inside the Armory. It was wonderful. The clothes were great. Nothing felt like you would get in trouble with ageists if you had it on. [Rihanna] did this amazing stuff with motocross pants. They looked like motocross pants but they were street pants you could wear out, even if you’re not 21 [years old]. They sit really well on people. Sometimes it’s how things sit on you that determine whether you should or should not be wearing it.
[Rihanna’s] first [Fenty] show was—look, you’re getting your feet wet. You’re doing you, but I think she’s grown up in her thinking of what clothing does for people. I think she’s shifted from being the street ratchet girl to being the baddest bitch on the block. To me, that’s everything. When you recognize that that window of “ratchet hot” is only this wide, you can keep doing that, but that’s going to change. She’s become more a girl for the ages. I think she and Fenty have come to a really good understanding about what her fashion style is, and what she can present and what will work for people. I didn’t see any of these young folks that didn’t think, “I’m buying that. I’m buying everything I see.” I thought, I’m going to beat somebody up for those shoes! There were these fantastic slip-ons that had a polyurethane heel, but the puma was in red, black or orange. The shoes were great. It was the proper way to display streetwear.
I was with my granddaughter [Jerzey Dean], so we were like, “Oh look, oh my God!” I could never wear it. Even when I was younger I couldn’t pull it off. But [Fenty Puma] had this amazing green camouflage. It was like a full green. It was that camouflage vibe that was cut in the back, had criss-crosses in the back. This much of the shoulder was out, this much of the shoulder was covered. The girl who had it on worked it beautifully. She had on the motocross pants as well. I wanted everything for everybody I knew. And I want the shoes, every one of them!
If I were wearing the shoes, I would put on Rihanna’s “Umbrella”. For me, that song speaks to the ages. I just love it. [After the show, Rihanna] came out and I was just so proud of her. I know she’s a great singer, I know she’s all this, but she is also now her eye. You see her fingers on everything. I was so glad I got to see it.