Robyn Rihanna Fenty – Alaïa-clad fashion savant, aspiring kouturier to the starz and bad girl with no phucks left to give – has just finished presenting her debut ready-to-wear collection for River Island at London Fashion Week. It wasn’t Rihanna Plane levels of bad, but it wasn’t great. The collection itself was – to borrow a phrase – basic, but perhaps that was the point.
Like the singer’s seventh album in as many years, RiRi’s fashion debut was never going to reinvent the wheel, so the major discernible incentives for the singer/actress in presenting a collection for a high street retailer are obviously a) commerce, commercial appeal, diversifying CV and b) clothes for Rihanna herself to wear on various super yachts while being her usual blunt self.
Slouchy denim, bare midriffs, tie-dye fabrics and oversized hoodies gave the collection a laid-the-phuck-back 90s feel, while high-cut Baywatch bathing suits in bright red, hoop earrings and body chains demonstrated a distinct point of view. That point of view was definitely Rihanna’s, in an elevator, going up to a hall of mirrors, on a yacht, taking a selfie, not giving a phuck.
Other viewing notes taken from the collection include “lots of primary colours, mostly navy; knotted jersey body-con and column evening dresses; also, mesh :S” The clothes were unapologetically RiRi and her Rihanna Navy will lap it up regardless of design merit or innovation, if only for the kind of bragging rights Rihanna takes an inordinate amount of pleasure in.
A highlight from the show was definitely the soundtrack, which featured contributions from Jay-Z, Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and Kendrick Lamar. When the time came for Rihanna to ‘take a bow,’ her own song ‘Phresh of the Runway’ played out while she looked out triumphant over an audience of LCD screens.
As yet it’s hard to find any kind of considered critical response to the collection [the presentation took place at the same time as the critic-magnet International Woolmark Prize show, where Dion Lee was presenting a capsule collection] but then again, these aren’t clothes made for a considered critical response by an elite few. All that matters is that RiRi brought her loyal audience to their (and her) feet.
And that’s almost certainly the point of this exercise.
Photo by Danny Martindale via Getty