In the past couple of years, Rihanna has given her fans groundbreaking beauty products and size-inclusive lingerie, so a luxury fashion label helmed by Rihanna almost sounds too good to be true. But months of speculation were finally confirmed when the news broke last week that Rihanna would become the first black woman to lead a luxury fashion house, called Fenty.
While everyone waits for her ninth studio album (for which she still does not have a name or release date), her fashion label and some new Fenty Beauty products will have to fill the void. Rihanna has remained hush hush about her forthcoming ventures, but she finally decided to just lay it all out there with an interview in The New York Times, wherein she gave a taste of what to expect from her new line, including how you can buy it, when you can buy it, and why she chose to name it Fenty.
Why she partnered with LVMH:
LVMH was a “no-brainer” to Rihanna, who explained to the Times that in an attempt to go slow and become a respected designer, she used her prior relationship with Bernard Arnault, the luxury conglomerate’s chairman and chief executive officer, to establish a line that would allow her to be in full control. “I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I’m very hands-on,” she said. Fenty is a luxury goods label, so the prices are on the level of what one would expect from an LVMH-owned line (the first drop will have pieces ranging from $200 to $1,500).
How you can buy it:
Designed in Italy and manufactured in Paris, Fenty will be available for purchase on Fenty.com beginning May 29, but don’t expect any runway shows; Rihanna’s lingerie line, Savage x Fenty, has the Fashion Week catwalk covered. The entrepreneur plans to be “as disruptive as possible” with a nontraditional luxury brand that will not show on the runway, but instead will be available to consumers with just a few clicks. “It’s a new way of doing things because I believe that this is where fashion is going to go eventually,” she revealed. Rihanna plans to utilize a direct-to-consumer online model, dropping new additions of accessories, shoes, or clothes every few weeks, kind of like singles or loosies that might inevitably add up to one cohesive album of sorts. For those wondering why Fenty will operate under this model, Rihanna has a very contemporary, consumer-friendly answer: “Because I’m a millennial, you know? People are always looking for the thing that hasn’t made it online yet. And as a consumer, I hate seeing something on the runway and then having to wait six months for it.”
Who (and what) inspired it:
According to Jahleel Weaver, Rihanna’s stylist and Fenty style director, the label was inspired by the multifaceted modern woman. “We’re thinking about each release as a different facet to a woman’s wardrobe and how she approaches dressing,” he told the Times. Surprising to possibly no one, the muse for Fenty was the label’s creator herself. Rihanna also revealed to the Times that she was inspired by Jaden Smith and Childish Gambino, not necessarily in terms of their fashion sense, but because they “are embracing every bit of who they are.”
The collection will also take style cues from Rihanna’s native country, and she even incorporated images from “free postcards or booklets at hotels in Barbados from years ago” into some T-shirts.
What the collections will look like:
Rihanna plans to start off strong with her first drop, and then switch things up to include some more feminine pieces. According to the first video posted to Fenty’s Instagram account, there’s going to be a lot of mixing and matching of styles, shapes, silhouettes, and textures. “It’s sweatpants with pearls, or a masculine denim jacket with a corset,” Rihanna said. It would appear that the Fenty woman is a woman who would not dare pigeonhole herself into one style of dress, and instead combines masculine cues with feminine ones to create a somewhat edgy look that stands out outside of a binary.
And speaking of corsets, it seems that those contraptions will play a big role in the collection drops. “I love a corset. We put a corset in a suit, a dress, a shirt, a denim jacket, and a T-shirt dress,” Rihanna told the Times.
What the clothes will feel like:
Expect a lot of denim and a lot of leather. The suits will be made of Weapon, a fabric made of cotton canvas. “Even making clothes in luxury is different,” Rihanna said. “All the techniques are, like, ridiculous.”
Why it’s called Fenty:
When it came to naming her empire, Rihanna knew she would have to consider how to brand the label so that it would have staying power and be distinguishable as a business endeavor outside of her career as a musician. She revealed to the Times that her last name (which, according to the interview, is a Spanish and Portuguese derivative of the word “infante,” a title given to royal children) would allow her to make that separation. “I used to be afraid to step into the whole celebrity makeup world. I saw brands like Hilary Duff and Hannah Montana have so much success [in the aughts], but it got to a place where they were so oversaturated in the market that it diluted their personal brands,” she said. “It made me think, I’m not going to do this, because you lose your respect and credibility, and so every collaboration I did outside of music, I used Fenty so that you didn’t have to hear the word ‘Rihanna’ every time you saw something that I did. So Rihanna stayed the music, the person. But these other brands are called Fenty.”