RIhanna's lingerie brand Savage X Fenty is rightly hailed for its size-inclusivity as well as its risqué designs, offering ample proof that every body has the potential to be sexy as hell. In a dreamy new set of photos shot by Savanna Ruedy, model Micaéla Verrelien makes the case that the brand's Valentine's Day collection should be your go-to for tonight (or, actually, any night).
We chatted with the model and photographer about the shoot, why they love Savage X Fenty, and what sexy means to them. See the photos, and read their answers, below.
What was your inspiration for the shoot?
Michaéla Verrelien: '70s Diana Ross, if she were to wear Savage X Fenty in 2019. Divas make choices and take charge while doing so, and that is exactly how I feel while wearing Savage X Fenty.
How did you and Savanna go about selecting the pieces featured in the shoot?
MV: I chose the pieces based on all the amazing Valentine's Day choices that Savage X Fenty had, the pieces that I was the most comfortable in and that I believed would make a statement. The designs for Savage X Fenty are so gorgeous, so it was very easy to do.
Do you have a favorite piece or look from the shoot?
MV: I love all of these pieces so much, but, if I had to choose, I would choose the long lace one with the red lip print. I love the lip print, and it is long and lacy, which is sexy but still allows a bit of curiosity. Who doesn't love curiosity!?
Is there a certain vibe or emotion that you associate with Savage X Fenty?
MV: Whenever I wear Savage X Fenty I associate it with girls that give no fucks about what other people think about them. What you think about yourself is the most important thing, and when I wear Savage X Fenty, I feel great for the day. Feeling sexy for yourself is the most amazing thing ever! Validation of others is left at the door and happiness surrounds the heart like a warm pillow.
How is Savage X Fenty revolutionizing lingerie for you?
MV: Savage X Fenty is revolutionizing lingerie for every woman who thought their body was not good enough. Every woman is important, and the fact that this brand includes women of all shapes and sizes is revolutionary.
Does Savage X Fenty help determine what sexy means to you?
MV: I don't think it determines what sexy means to me, but it does an amazing job of making sure there are no blurred lines. Sexy is every woman; no woman left behind.
What does sexy mean to you?
MV: Sexy to me is a feeling. I have to feel sexy in order to truly exude it in any way. Different things make me feel sexy; namely, lingerie and a nice red lip.
You and Rihanna are both from the Caribbean, and you've mentioned having a special "island girl state of mind" on your social platforms. Do you feel or see that "island gal" confidence and attitude in the Savage X Fenty pieces?
MV: Being Caribbean is ALL about confidence, so yes, I do think that there is an island gal confidence in these pieces. We are taught to exude confidence even when we are having a bad day. The fact that Savage X Fenty is an all-inclusive brand is truly amazing, but also makes a lot of sense. Most island gals have a lot of curves and what might fit the top does not fit the bottom, meaning many of us have what we call "shape." Savage does a great job of accommodating sizes. Only a gal with confidence could wear Savage pieces, and if you aren't as confident as you would like, once you put on Savage X Fenty I am very positive that will change.
As the model in this shoot, what do you hope people get out of these photos?
MV: I hope that people will see me as just that—a model—and give even more opportunities to more brown curvy island gals such as myself. If given an opportunity, a girl who looks like me will kill it, and that will help give confidence to so many young girls who might not think they are beautiful, because they do not fit the norm.
What was your inspiration for the shoot?
Savanna Ruedy: My inspiration came from all of the colors and fabrics. I love to use the design of the clothing as a jumping-off point. We had some props to work with, so that helped drive the shoot. I think, overall, I've been inspired by '70s photography and style, and so has Micaéla. We combined our visions into one.
A lot of your photos are whimsical and full of vivid colors. Was that a focus for this shoot?
SR: I feel like that's always my focus when I get to have creative freedom. Luckily when I work with Micaéla, things flow, and I get to really do whatever I want creatively.
Were there any techniques you used to let Micaéla and the Savage X Fenty pieces shine?
SR: I have some tricks! But I have no shame putting plastic, filters, or even Vaseline on my lens to make things more interesting. I also love working with different kinds of lighting, even if it's a flashlight, to emphasize what I want to be the focal point. It definitely helps how much I love the pieces and how radiant of a person Micaela is. The pieces are really versatile and, from what I've seen, make any person shine.
Did you and Micaéla select the lingerie pieces together?
SR: They were already laid out in sets, but we definitely talked about which ones we like the best and how to style them in the photos. We always have the same vision, which I love about our work together.
Your photos push beyond typical editorial—they're theatrical and playful. How do you execute each photo with that in mind?
SR: Wow, thank you! I love that. I just want people to have fun and be themselves. Oftentimes it takes place with having the subject do something that's funny or quirky, which brings out more authenticity. I'm also a big cinema junkie and have always referenced movies in my work. When I was a kid, I was inspired by movies like Edward Scissorhands and Jawbreaker, and I think those types of movies really influenced my work from a young age.
You've worked on several fashion features. Is there something about Savage X Fenty that stands out to you from other fashion brands?
SR: I love the diversity and inclusivity of the brand. It's amazing that anyone can wear these pieces and feel confident. Also, Rihanna incorporates her own personal style into the designs, which makes the pieces feel authentic. I admire how daring she is with her own fashion. She's always been an inspiration to me.