by Gemma O’Sullivan
Singer, songwriter, actor, designer, business mogul. More recently, however, Rihanna has made a name for herself as a contemporary fashion icon, grabbing headlines for her outlandish looks both on and off the red carpet.
Never playing it safe, Rihanna refuses to be pigeonholed. Whether she’s in sweatpants and heels, or a sheer diamond-encrusted gown, she’s always quick to not only tap into trends, but to start them. She’s captivated the fashion world with her experimental and fearless approach to fashion, becoming known for her sartorial risks as much as she is for being a pop sensation, and cementing her place in fashion history as a result.
Over the years, she’s made several forays into fashion. She’s collaborated with Armani, Balmain, Gucci and Stella McCartney to name a few. She was announced as Dior’s first black spokesperson, and her Fenty Beauty range is also a massive hit, catering to all skin tones with forty shades of foundation. More recently, she’s had success with her Puma shoe line, with her creeper-style trainers selling out online within thirty-five minutes. She staged a New York Fashion Week show as creative director of Puma which featured motocross stunts across pink glitter mountains, later presenting her autumn/winter 2017 collection in Paris; set in a grand library, with models stomping across the desks in thigh-high football boots and school-girl tartan skirts.
Rihanna is someone who wears what she wants, when she wants; whether or not her choices are to everyone’s taste, she completely owns them.
Her looks at the Met Galas have particularly attracted the attention of the fashion industry. In 2015, she was one of the few guests who stayed true to the theme ‘China: Through the Looking Glass’, arriving in a lavish Gau Pei gown (see below). Despite the flurry of omelette memes that ensued, she garnered widespread approval from critics. Another Met Gala look that grabbed headlines was her 2017 Comme des Garçons ensemble, which was made up of elaborate petals with ornate designs and strappy red thigh highs, which apparently took her an hour to get into. Both years, Rihanna was highly praised for sticking closely to the theme and refusing to play it safe, unlike most attendees.
Perhaps one of her most notorious looks, however, was the Swarovski-crystal fishnet gown she wore to the 2014 CFDAs (see below). While some deemed her dress too risqué for the event, with her modesty covered by only a nude-coloured thong, her matching gloves and turban, white fur, and smoky eyes made for an ultra-glam, Twenties-inspired look.
And it’s not just on the red carpet that she turns heads; she’s increasingly gaining a rep for her formidable day wear. She was sporting Vetements, baseball caps, flatforms, and sliders way before they became popular. It’s clear Rihanna has fun with her outfits, whether that be a bubble-gum pink suit with matching fur, or sweatpants and stilettos.
We’ve put together some of our favourite RiRi looks:
1. At Good Morning America (2015)
Wearing Pascal Millet.
2. Met Gala (2015)
Wearing Guo Pei.
3. ANTI World Tour (2016)
Wearing Craig Green, with Manolo Blahnik boots.
4. CFDA Fashion Awards (2014)
In Adam Selman.
5. Fenty Beauty launch in London (2017)
Wearing a lilac Mary Goddard dress, Chopard jewels, and Rene Caovilla sandals.