A Saint Laurent bralette, a laced Dundas minidress and Y/Project jeans are among the sartorial highlights seen on new mom Rihanna that are triggering a whole new vibe in the maternity fashion category.
The Fenty entrepreneur reportedly gave birth to a baby boy this week. The vintage pink Chanel puffer coat, body jewelry and ripped jeans Rihanna wore to announce her pregnancy with A$AP Rocky in January, however, was just a taste of what was to come.
In the 48 hours following her pregnancy announcement, fashion e-commerce aggregator Lovethesale reported a 312 percent increase in searches for “pink padded coats,” an 81 percent increase in searches for “pearl necklaces” and a whopping 562 percent increase in searches for “blue ripped jeans.”
The “Umbrella” singer shut down Paris Fashion Week by turning up to Dior’s runway show in the fashion house’s sheer babydoll dress and to Off-White’s Virgil Abloh tribute dressed in the brand’s leather dress.
And just when fashion watchers thought her maternity fashion journey culminated in an April Vogue cover story featuring the nine-time Grammy Awards winner posing at The Ritz Paris in an Alaïa red lace catsuit—which spiked searches for “lace bodysuits” 191 percent in a two-hour period—Rihanna made an unexpected appearance at the Met Gala despite skipping the event. Vogue paid homage by creating a virtual marble statue of the Rihanna that mimics her cover pose.
While several of Rihanna’s untraditional maternity fits are custom, retail analytics firm Edited said the popularity of her mold-breaking style points to opportunities for brands and retailers to “invest in bump-accentuating styles” outside basic items.
Rihanna’s influence may already be taking shape at retail. Edited noted that crop top arrivals increased 1,084 percent year-over-year with retailers merchandising these products with matching leggings or fitted skirts. However, the trend is already showing signs of going in a new direction. Edited named Y2K-inspired baby tees and low-rise bottoms as the next iteration to watch.
In this same skin-baring twist on maternity apparel, demand for sheer is rising. Edited reported that arrivals of tops and dresses with mesh elements have grown 208 percent year-over-year. While most brands are placing sheer fabrics on sleeves and necklines, the materials are often paired with body-con silhouettes and ruching.
Bolder colors are also gaining traction. Black maternity options are down 6 percent, while green—a color that has become signature to Bottega Veneta in recent seasons—has landed in the top eight assorted colors at 8 percent of the total U.S. and U.K. maternity market. Blue and pink remain important, especially for dresses and tops.
The jeans category, however, may present retailers with the greatest opportunity. The category has received an injection of newness recently with brands like L’Agence, Sezane and Hatch introducing maternity denim collections.
Though comfy and stretchy leggings remain a staple, Edited said maternity retailers are banking on jeans which made up 21 percent of new bottoms from Jan. 1 to April 10. Compared to the same time this year, maternity jeans jumped 25 percent, outpacing new leggings, which dropped from 22 percent to 20 percent during the same period.
Just don’t expect the Y2K trend sweeping over Gen Z denim to have the same stronghold on expecting mothers.
“While Rihanna’s pregnancy is highly publicized with low-rise, baggy jeans, this silhouette is yet to translate to the mass market,” Edited said. “Skinny and slim styles with stretch functionalities continue to dominate. Hip-hugging jeans may be impractical, but looser fits are an opportunity to update maternity wear with more directional denim styles.”