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When it comes to tricky trends and out-there outfits, there’s nothing Rihanna can’t wear. This might explain why, over the past few years, she’s teamed up with numerous fashion brands to put her stamp on things like $4,000 denim chaps and tie-dyed overall maxi dresses.
On one hand, it’s sort of adorable that Rihanna assumes we mere mortals can pull off the same styles she can; on the other, it’s worrisome that nobody has pointed out to her that, well, we can’t. Remember how Jon Hamm’s 30 Rock character was living in a handsome bubble? Rih, you might say, is in a trendsetter bubble.
Anyway, for the most part, Rihanna’s filled her Fenty Puma collection with enough borderline-practical buys to ensure perennially strong sales. Those smash-hit fur slides? Slightly wacky but still plenty wearable, so it makes sense that they’ve sold out multiple times. Her suede creepers? Same deal.
And then there are items like her “Bomber-Jacket Backpack,” which I stumbled upon while browsing the latest delivery of Fenty merch to hit Puma’s website:
At first glance, it appeared to be a standard (if surreal) black backpack with part of a puffy coat sewn onto the back for, I don’t know, extra flair? Here’s how it was shown phresh out the runway:
Not really sure how I feel about it ... something in the way it moves? From the front, the backpack makes it seem as though the wearer has sprouted a second set of baby arms out of her obliques. From the back, it hints at a hunchback. Either way, the $450 price tag didn’t make sense.
A quick Google search revealed that Feature Sneaker Boutique also had the pack in stock — but had instead listed it as a “Backpack Bomber Jacket” and photographed it like outerwear (hood up, unzipped, etc). Was this backpack also ... an actual jacket? Was it a jackpack?!
Determined to unzip the truth about this bizarre coat/carryall hybrid, I requested a live chat with Puma customer care. Tyler was quick to respond:
My email to Feature Sneaker Boutique’s customer service team (subject line: “S.O.S. please someone help me”) yielded a similarly terse reply. “This product only functions as a backpack, you cannot wear it as a jacket,” they confirmed.
But something was still plaguing me. If this backpack was in fact just a backpack, why did it zip down the front, like a jacket? And why had Puma described it as being “extraordinarily cozy” and having “all the details of a traditional bomber jacket?” If you ask me, the single most important detail of a traditional bomber jacket is that you can, you know, wear it!
Feeling more lost than ever, I reached out to the PR team at KCD, which represents Rihanna’s Fenty Puma brand:
Hello there! I'm trying to figure out whether this style is a backpack that also can be worn as a jacket, or is just a backpack with non-functional sleeves attached (and therefore can only be used as a backpack). https://www.featuresneakerboutique.com/products/puma-x-rihanna-womens-backpack-bomber-jacket-black
Any help would be appreciated, thanks!
Less than five minutes later, I had a reply:
Hi! Yes it is a jacket, just as a pull over. Its named the bomber as it resembles one, but you are correct in the fact it does not unzip all the way down. Let me know if you have any other questions!
AHA! I knew it! One could wear it as a jacket OR as a backpack! But wait:
Sorry, to clarify the pull over portion I mean it just for the backpack (the sleeves are faux in the sense your arms cannot go through – would it help if I sent over images from my iphone of someone wearing it?
Dammit. Obviously, I asked for the photos, which did indeed help clarify how this absurd accessory is meant to work (work work work work):
The bottom line here? Rihanna’s bomber jacket backpack is roughly 90% backpack, 10% jacket. The hood is wearable, the sleeves and torso are not. It is by and large a backpack, albeit one with insulating properties. I was wrong in my assumption that it was a functioning jacket, but also ... kind of right?
Either way, it’s still overpriced, still odd, and Rihanna’s still the only girl in the world who could pull it off. Yeah, I said it.