Rihanna style: Is this the Ri life, or is this just fantasy?


Rihanna style: Is this the Ri life, or is this just fantasy?

The collaboration between the pop star and fashion house LVMH will make the ultimate power couple

Chloe Mac Donnell

Whenever Rihanna is photographed in public her outfits cause a stir online as her fans flurry to be the first to identify the designer pieces she’s chosen to wear. With looks ranging from casual streetwear to full-on showstoppers – such as the Maison Margiela crystal-encrusted gown complete with a hat akin to a bishop’s mitre that she wore to last year’s Met Ball – she is the ultimate style chameleon.
Last week was no different as the popstar headed to a 718 Spank concert in a Maison Margiela neon yellow mesh top, Vetements blazer and Balenciaga Knife stretch boots. But it was her sunglasses that really left fans schtummed. Oversized with metal frames, they appeared to have the Fenty logo – the label under which she sells cosmetics, lingerie and, in collaboration with Puma, sportswear – engraved on the side.
The sighting of the brand name led fans to speculate whether we were seeing a sneak preview of her own range of sunglasses. However, according to WWD, Rihanna is in secret talks with the luxury conglomerate LVMH to launch a luxury house under her own name, meaning we could shortly be seeing a lot more than just Fenty branded shades. According to multiple sources, Rihanna and LVMH have been in discussions for several months about the joint venture. If it were to go ahead, it would be the first time that the group has launched a new house from scratch since Christian Lacroix in 1987.
It is understood that the collection will span ready-to-wear, leather goods and accessories with staff handpicked from other LVMH houses including Celine and Louis Vuitton to work on the project.
This wouldn’t be the first foray into fashion for the nine-time Grammy award winner. The Barbados-born singer made her design debut in 2013 with British high-street brand River Island, creating a collection of clothing and accessories.
She was was named creative director of Puma in 2014, overseeing the direction of the womenswear line and causing a surge in profits for the group. She’s also had huge success with her foray into lingerie; Savage x Fenty has been hailed as a game changer in the industry as it caters to a diverse range of body types and models.
The beauty line she launched with the Kendo division of LVMH, dubbed an innovative beauty brand incubator, was named by Time magazine as one of the best inventions of 2017, earning $72m in its first month in earned media value, according to Tribe Dynamics.
For LVMH, the Rihanna line reflects how rapidly the fashion industry is changing. Previously designers remained in the background, working quietly with their teams to create seasonal collections and almost having to be coaxed to take a bow at the end of each show; nowadays they are under much more pressure to engage with the press and consumers. From hosting extravagant dinner parties for influencers and VIP shoppers to talking Instagram followers through their collections, being a successful designer in 2019 requires a much more multifaceted approach.
When LVMH announced Virgil Alboh as its new menswear artistic director at Louis Vuitton in March 2018, he became the first African-American designer to hold such a high profile position. Twenty-four hours before his debut show in June 2018, Abloh teased his collection on Instragram, showing a single pair of red gilded sunglasses and the sole of a new sneaker.
On the morning of the show he launched a mini-documentary on Instagram’s TV channel where he could be seen styling models and talking about the show. Alongside celebrity friends including Kanye West, Naomi Campbell and ASAP Rocky, he invited 3,000 design students to watch the show. Each was given a T-shirt. Of course Rihanna was there too, photographed in several pieces from his collection before they hit the runway.
“Virgil is one of the few designers who truly marries street culture with high fashion – and the first black designer to be given such a position in the gilded halls of LVMH. His appointment is a step in the right direction for diversity, as well as a particularly exciting creative moment for the industry,” British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful commented at the time. Abloh’s debut collection is already one of Vuitton’s fastest-selling of all time.
The only other black designer at a major brand is Olivier Rousteing, creative director at Balmain. If Rihanna’s luxury deal with LVMH does go ahead, she would become both the first celebrity and black woman to be granted her own fashion house under the group.
Just like Abloh, Rihanna has no formal fashion training. But when you have over 67 million personal Instagram followers, a global coterie of fans dubbed “Rihanna Navy” and numerous companies reporting strong revenue performances after joint collaborations with the singer, do you really need to know how to pattern cut? The ultimate power appointment by LVMH? The proof will be in the profit. - © The Daily Telegraph

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