WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK, WORK: Rihanna’s Fenty
Text by Kee | Photos courtesy of Fenty
Fenty's debut fashion campaign lensed by Glen Luchford
Fenty's debut fashion campaign lensed by Glen Luchford
Fenty's debut fashion campaign lensed by Glen Luchford

You thought Robyn Rihanna Fenty was satisfied. Eight studio albums of catchy musical hooks, a slew of bit-part on-screen roles, and a long list of awards and lovers later, the self-styled “bad gal” is now a bona fide empire builder. In a few years, she graduated from fashion icon status to big boss material, evidenced from her days as Puma’s womenswear creative director in 2017 to the owner of her massively lucrative cosmetic label Fenty Beauty and the Victoria’s Secret-bashing Savage X Fenty shortly after. But then rumours started swirling in the last few months that Rihanna was planning her magnum opus – a ready-to-wear venture funded by luxury juggernaut LVMH. While the rumours took some time to settle in with the rest of fashion set disbelieving that LVMH would part money to launch a brand from scratch (it has not done so since launching Christian Lacroix in 1987), it only took Rihanna just a couple of weeks between confirming the deal and presenting her debut collection in Paris. Why is this a big deal? That’s because the 31-year-old is the first female to create a brand with Bernard Arnault’s multi-billion dollar company and also the first person of colour to lead in a dual-role capacity of CEO and artistic director. However, the test of her namesake label’s longevity is her output rather than bright-like-a-diamond star billing. Fenty carries the weight of expectations on its shoulders, being the first fresh global brand backed by one of high fashion’s giants in a shopping environment that’s chasing the millennial dollar. Rihanna, a millennial herself, has established a solid relationship with this age bracket and even those who don’t follow her music would have heard the name, bought the make-up, and wore the empowering lingerie. The values that she has championed for – mainly inclusiveness – are evident in the way she has operated, ranging from choices catering to a wide range of body types to make-up that works on a variety of skin tones. As millennials crave for authenticity and originality, Rihanna’s non-BS approach has helped to place her ventures in the driving seat from the get-go – real options for real people. This is also the case for her debut collection for Fenty that will be utilising the direct-to-consumer formula like her other successful ventures. So does her debut designs hold their own? Let’s just say each piece is definitively Rihanna, a fashion space that most will find difficult to fit in. That said, the silhouettes are consistent with this inclusiveness that she champions for, one that is isn’t just for a stick-thin model but a woman of curvier proportions too. The cinched waist, the billowy sleeves, and roomier trousers are early anchors of her aesthetic. What is surprising is Rihanna’s supposed focus on reworking age-old tailoring, trying to define her own style of Le Smoking Jacket that will stand the test of time. This includes a matching fanny pack that comes with the pantsuit, in colours like salmon pink, off-white, and khaki. She hasn't forgotten her streetwear roots too; bringing the utilitarian denim fabric into the mix with her cinched waist silhouette. And if you remember that sunglass collab with Dior in 2016, Rihanna has brought back more of that futuristic visor fit albeit with hardware upgrades – and we’re expecting these to be the hot ticket item. Oh, and if you’re expecting things to be at a merch-level pricing, well, think again. This is empire-building Rihanna you're talking about now, LVMH's new golden girl.


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