LIFE

For Rihanna’s Role as the Music Queen, Everything Is Custom

For W‘s September 2016 cover shoot, Rihanna played a queen of the post-apocalyptic world. And looking like a royal, of any kind, required getting the royal treatment. “Rihanna is playing the Queen, so everything has to be custom made specifically for her,” explained W‘s creative fashion and style director Edward Enninful. With that in mind, Wtasked a handful of designers, from Jonathan Anderson at Loewe to John Galliano at Maison Margiela, to dream up a custom outfit for her royal highness. Here, a side-by-side comparison of the designers’ sketches with the final looks.


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Photographs by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; W Magazine September 2016.

For W‘s September 2016 cover shoot, Rihanna played a queen of the post-apocalyptic world. And looking like a royal, of any kind, required getting the royal treatment. “Rihanna is playing the Queen, so everything has to be custom made specifically for her,” explained W‘s creative fashion and style director Edward Enninful. With that in mind, W’s fashion team tasked a handful of designers, from Jonathan Anderson at Loewe to John Galliano at Maison Margiela, to dream up a custom outfit for her royal highness. While some designers drew from their own Fall 2016 collections for inspiration, others created new pieces from nothing. Here, a side by side comparison of the designers’ sketches with the final looks, shot by photographer Steven Klein and styled by Edward Enninful.

Proenza Schouler – “We were riffing on the idea of control and release — of composing silhouettes through lacing and tying fabrics around the body.” Could say: a dramatic riff off a dress from their fall runway, this custom look was a tougher take on a Proenza classic. Prada Maison Margiela HBA – waiting on quote Loewe – waiting on quote Dior Fenty x Puma – no quote but could say: Rihanna designs for Fenty x Puma so it was natural choice to include. Gareth Pugh : “The gold foil coat is made from emergency heat blankets. They were cut and taped together, rather than sewn, and made into a grand opera coat-which I guess makes it feel quite post-apocalyptic or utilitarian with a definite touch of high octane glamour. It’s also inflatable (of course) and so billows in movement, which gives it this weird sculptural quality – certainly a good day to night option.” “The headpiece is like the midpoint between a halo, an egyptian sun god and some kind of medival monarch. I had been thinking about a religious or cult figure- a high priestess- but one who is babes and dangerous, and untouchable. we used the same gold foil from the coat to encrust spiked faceted shapes – like golden gem stones surrounding the head” Marina Hoermanseder – “This moulded leather body is my interpretation of the orthopedic corset of the 18th century – made by hand out of vegetable tanned leather and lacquered by airbrush this leather body aims at giving support to the spine and enhancing the beautiful female body.”

1
Prada
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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Rihanna rules the city streets in Prada.

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Proenza Schouler
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez drew from their Fall 2016 collection to create this look for Rihanna–and added a little extra drama along the way. “We were riffing on the idea of control and release — of composing silhouettes through lacing and tying fabrics around the body,” they explained.

3
Christian Dior
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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The red Dior ensemble is both ladylike and totally fierce.

4
Gareth Pugh
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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To create this look for Rihanna, designer Gareth Pugh used some unusual techniques. “The gold foil coat is made from emergency heat blankets,” he explained. “They were cut and taped together, rather than sewn, and made into a grand opera coat, which I guess makes it feel quite post-apocalyptic or utilitarian with a definite touch of high octane glamour. It’s also inflatable (of course), so it billows in movement, which gives it this weird sculptural quality–and makes it a good day-to-night option.” The headpiece was made out of the same gold foil from the coat. “The headpiece is like the midpoint between a halo, an Egyptian sun god and some kind of medieval monarch. I had been thinking about a religious or cult figure, a high priestess, but one who is dangerous and untouchable.”

5
Loewe
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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The Loewe look is the fierce armor any fashionable queen needs to take on a dystopian world.

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Marina Hoermanseder
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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Marina Hoermanseder was inspired by 18th-century orthopedic corsets for this look. “The moulded leather body was made by hand out of tanned vegetable leather and lacquered by airbrush,” she explained. “The leather body aims at giving support to the spine and enhancing the beautiful female body.”

7
Hood by Air
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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This design came from the design sessions for this fall’s “Pilgrim Series,” which spoke of discovery and apocalypse within conservative ritual.

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Manolo Blahnik
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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Rihanna has collaborated with Manolo Blahnik in the past–so of course the designer created a custom pair for the queen’s W Magazine cover story.

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Fenty x Puma
Photo by Steven Klein, styled by Edward Enninful; Illustration courtesy of the designer.
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Rihanna already has one Fenty x Puma collection under her belt, so it was a natural choice for her to wear a custom ensemble from the brand.