How Rihanna took on the fashion world and won

Rihanna has well and truly won over the hearts of the fashion crowd [Photo: Getty]

When Rihanna prepped to showcase her debut clothing line back in February 2016, there was an air of scepticism amongst the fashion elite. Fast forward four seasons and the singer-turned-designer is laughing.

Following in the footsteps of Victoria Beckham, the 29-year-old has successfully cracked a smile from the stern-faced fashion industry. But unlike the former Spice Girl, she didn’t need to ditch her music aesthetic to do so. This year alone, the pop star has landed a number one single, bagged a top acting gig, amassed countless positive reviews at New York Fashion Week and released her debut Fenty Beauty line. Phew, now that’s one pretty impressive CV.

Rihanna was given the fashion stamp of approval from Anna Wintour at the CFDA awards in 2014 [Photo: Getty]

But what is it that propelled the singer to global acclaim? A regular on the FROW and an expert headliner when it comes to dressing for red carpet events, the pop star has served as a muse to designers across the globe ever since she rose to fame twelve years ago. Let’s be frank, who doesn’t remember the knock out dress Rihanna chose for the Met Gala in 2015?

Rihanna chose a gown by Chinese couturier Guo Pei for the Met Gala in 2015 [Photo: Getty]

But within the space of two years, the singer has gone from fashion muse to fashion leader.

For her second season of Fenty x Puma, Rihanna debuted the collection during Paris Fashion Week. A smart move for a newbie, as the ‘Marie Antoinette at the gym’ inspired line received clap-hand emojis aplenty.

Rihanna steps out following the Fenty x Puma show at Paris Fashion Week [Photo: Getty]

Last week, Rihanna rode into New York Fashion Week with ease. The singer understood just what the fash pack wanted and, unlike other A-list try-hards, didn’t let her stardom overshadow the show. The backdrop of neon pink sand dunes and dangerous motorcycle stunts only further proved she can give the millennials what they want.

And if the FROW thought the runway scenes were Instagram gold, they’ll have raised their iPhone cameras in joy as Kaia Gerber stomped past in Fenty boots. Rihanna’s show marked the 16-year-old’s third catwalk appearance and with the paps snapping the model’s every move this season, it was a casting decision the singer won’t regret.

Rihanna won over even the most stern-faced of critics at her SS18 runway show [Photo: Getty]

But a fashion line didn’t faze the singer enough by the looks of things, as Rihanna soon added a beauty collection to her CV. But it isn’t like any other star-endorsed make-up line. Unlike Victoria Beckham and fellow members of the A-list alumni, Rihanna successfully pulled off a collection for everyone.


With 40 different shades of foundation, the singer proved that well established brands have no excuse not to sell dark hues. And she has data to back her up, as the deeper tones sold out faster than the lighter shades on offer.

At the launch of her product line, the singer told Refinery29: “It was really important for me, in every product, I was like, ‘There needs to be something for a dark-skinned girl, there needs to be something for a really pale girl, there needs to be someone in-between.'”

Interestingly, in the run-up to the drop, Kylie Jenner pushed the promotion of ‘Brown Sugar’, a lip kit from her famed beauty line designed for darker skin tones. Described as ‘the perfect nude for deeper skin tones’, the hue rarely made an appearance on the Kylie Cosmetics Instagram feed. But just days before the highly-anticipated Fenty Beauty line dropped, the Insta mogul ramped up the promotion on social media. Rihanna fans were suspicious and the youngest member of the Kardashian clan faced backlash.

But the trolling simply added another string to Rihanna’s bow, as it further cemented her status as a muse for young girls across the globe.

Having won over the hearts of the music, film, fashion and beauty industries, the singer’s next move is uncertain. But whatever takes her fancy, it’s sure to be a hit.

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