After months of speculation over a potential collaboration between Rihanna and the luxury French group LVMH, the pop star announced last week that a new luxury fashion brand, Fenty, will launch in partnership with the conglomerate. The first collection will be shown later this month in Paris, and is rumoured to feature ready-to-wear clothing and accessories, including shoes, sunglasses and jewellery. Rihanna has often been championed as the queen of the Met Gala for her perfectly on-theme looks year after year, and it’s no surprise that her absence at the 2019 gala meant something bigger was set to launch.
The collaboration gloats a list of firsts: it’s not only the first brand launched from scratch by LVMH since 1987, but Rihanna is also the first woman to create an original brand with the group and, importantly, the first woman of colour at the head of a LVMH maison. LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group, is recognised for its partnership with iconic heritage brands such as Dior, Givenchy, Celine and Fendi. A move away from the group’s traditional ventures, the partnership positions Rihanna as a breakthrough designer and makes Fenty a history-making brand. It’s thanks to her multi-faceted career and the global currency and name-recognition it’s given her that Rihanna is breaking new ground as LVMH newly embraces a fresh and diverse brand.
The ground-breaking partnership underscores Rihanna’s versatile power and talents as a businesswoman as well as a hugely successful singer and actress, her global influence and credibility ultimately driven by her message of diversity and inclusivity and her track record of successful entrepreneurial ventures and partnerships. Her transition from pop star to fashion mogul has been closely linked with some of the most well-known and iconic names under LVMH, from her appearance in Dior’s ‘Secret Garden IV’ in 2015 to her sunglasses collection with the brand in 2016. The success of her Fenty Beauty line under Kendo, LVMH’s beauty incubator, generated €500 million in its first full year in operation. The makeup brand was one of the first in the industry to reach out to the demands of inclusivity by producing foundations and makeup products across the spectrum of shades, making 40 shades the minimum requirement for foundations. Her Savage x Fenty lingerie collaboration produced a size-inclusive line of playful and empowering underwear, with a varied and diverse lineup featuring visibly pregnant models making an appearance on the runway where she unveiled the collection.
If her previous collections and collaborations are anything to go by, it seems clear that an inherent part of Fenty’s identity will focus on inclusivity across women of all body types and races. Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma collaboration made its debut back in 2016 at New York Fashion Week with a display of clothes that, in her own words, ‘Marie Antoinette would wear if she was going to the gym’. This time, we’re imagining haute streetwear with diverse shapes and designs in true Rihanna style, and a potential dose of sharp edge. Rihanna is reportedly a ‘hands-on-type’, so it’s probably not too optimistic to expect that she’ll put the extensive fashion portfolio she’s developed over the years to good use and produce a collection that makes her a key player in diversifying the fashion industry.
By Ruby McAuliffe.