For her debut album, 2005's Music of the Sun, the 16-year-old singer's image was sexy-cute, but generic.
In baggy jeans and, yes, rainbow suspenders, Rihanna (here at Arthur Ashe Kids Day during the 2005 US Open) radiates youth and beach-babe innocence.
A still-girlish Rihanna in a baby-doll sundress and flats at Baby Phat's spring 2006 show at Radio City Music Hall.
Traditional elegance: Rihanna at the CFDA Fashion Awards at the New York Public Library in 2006.
She dips her toe into the fashion world, walking the runway at Dsquared's spring 2008 show in Milan.
New 'do: Rihanna shocks her fans in 2007 when she bobs her hair and dyes it black, inspired, she says later, by Charlize Theron's character in Aeon Flux.
Sporting body paint and an a-symmetrical cut in her breakthrough "Umbrella" video, Rihanna cements her edgy new image.
The rising star, in Gucci, at the label's UNICEF fund-raiser.
Sassy in ankle boots and an even shorter haircut, in 2008.
Regrets? Rihanna—in a not especially flattering metallic gray cut-out dress—with then-boyfriend Chris Brown at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards.
Channeling Michael Jackson: Rihanna in Balmain.
In a sea of girls in gowns, Rihanna wears a Dolce & Gabbana tux to the Met Costume Institute gala in May 2009, her first major appearance after the Chris Brown incident.
Stripper chic: the singer pushes new boundaries.
Look but don't touch: At the 2009 American Music Awards, she performed in a bandage-inspired cut-out bodysuit, shot through with spikes.
She rocks a pair of Kerin Rose "Barracuda" shades at Fashion's Night Out 2009.
Rubberized bodysuit and bare legs: Onstage with Kanye West and Jay-Z at Madison Square Garden.
Scoping out Gareth Pugh's show, sporting drastic new highlights and deep purple lips.
Perhaps not her best moment: Rihanna attends the 2009 Glamour Women of the Year awards in a controversial accordion-style Stephane Rolland gown.
Tough as nails: The singer's Rated-R album cover, released November 2009.