She’s one of the biggest style icons of our times, so no one was particularly surprised when Rihanna announced she was heading up her own luxury fashion house. In fact, most people were too busy trying to find any money they had to give to her.
Now, the world has got its first sneak preview of what we can expect from the label. Called Fenty – the 31-year-old singer’s last name – it truly confirms Rihanna as a business mogul.
In an interview with the New York Times, the singer explained that she wasn't aware that the move would make the first black woman to head a major luxury house.
"I didn’t even know that until months into our relationship, when Jahleel [Weaver] brought it to my attention. And I’m like, "Are you sure about that? Did you do your research? ’Cause I don’t wanna state a claim that’s [expletive]." Because I still couldn’t believe it. It made me feel proud."
Ahead of Fenty launching on May 24 in a pop-up store in Paris and online on May 29, here’s everything you need to know about the label disrupting luxury fashion…
Rihanna has the right experience
This isn’t your ordinary celeb fashion line. It’s so much more because Rihanna has already proved herself to be successful in the world of fashion and beauty.
After establishing herself as a major trendsetter purely with what she wore and posted on Instagram, in 2014 Rihanna became the creative director of sportswear brand Puma’s women’s line. This collaboration was so successful she became the first woman to win Footwear News’s prestigious Shoe of the Year award for the Fenty x Puma creepers.
In 2017 she turned the beauty industry on its head with Fenty Beauty, which changed the game by catering for a large range of skin tones, almost unheard of for a mainstream brand. Then in 2018 she launched lingerie line Savage x Fenty, with advertising campaigns and fashion shows featuring women of all colours and sizes.
Rihanna’s latest fashion endeavour, Fenty, has been set up with the help of luxury conglomerate LVMH, which owns everything from Louis Vuitton to Dior and Fendi. The collaboration isn’t too much of a surprise – Rihanna already has a relationship with LVMH after becoming the first black female face of Dior.
It’s a big step in the fashion industry
Even though Rihanna is unbelievably qualified, Fenty is still big news for the luxury business. It’s the first brand the luxury conglomerate has ever created from scratch, and it will make Rihanna the first black woman to run a major luxury house under LVMH.
The way Fenty’s clothes will be sold is also highly unusual. Instead of regular fashion shows at assigned times and the products being dropped months later, Rihanna wants to cater to your average millennial who can’t wait that long. Clothes will be sold immediately to consumers online and new items will be added to the collection every few weeks.
So what are the clothes like?
The world has been given a glimpse of what we can expect from Fenty with a short video dropped on Instagram, and with Rihanna giving a rare interview to the New York Times.
Fenty’s style director Jahleel Weaver tells NYT says the clothes "speak to how multifaceted today’s woman is. We’re thinking about each release as a different facet to a woman’s wardrobe and how she approaches dressing…I don’t think she is just one thing, Rih being the perfect example of that."
We can see the initial drop of clothes are broadly in earthy tones – think beiges, light pinks and creams. Rihanna tells the NYT: "I see a lot of these pieces as classic pieces. They’re not gonna go out of style."
There are a lot of structured suits and corsets – a typically Rihanna mix of masculine and feminine. She has also been working with a lot of new talent and young designers to develop the line, so you can be sure it will be on the cutting edge of fashion.
"I use myself as the muse," Rihanna tells the NYT. "It’s sweatpants with pearls, or a masculine denim jacket with a corset. I feel like we live in a world where people are embracing every bit of who they are."
She has now moved to London, to be closer to the Paris where the clothes are designed (they are then manufactured in Italy). Unsurprisingly, the models used for Fenty are diverse – something Rihanna has championed throughout her career. However, they all look slim and characteristically ‘high fashion’ – Fenty doesn’t cater to plus-size women, but it does at least go up to a UK size 16 – which isn’t that common for a luxury brand.
Prices will reportedly range from $200 to $1,500.