2016 has been a whirlwind year for Rihanna. Dominating music, fashion, and pop culture, everything the singer touched turned into a buzz, from her collaboration with Manolo Blahnik to her roles on the big screen. Vogue Arabia investigates RiRi’s 12 months in the spotlight.
Rihanna kicked off the year by dropping her long-awaited eighth studio album, Anti, the first record of 2016 to be certified double-platinum. During her world tour, she embodied her “Bad Gal RiRi” persona perfectly (with the help of stylist Mel Ottenberg), through a series of costumes that ranged from a lace-up jumpsuit by Adam Selman and a beaded Armani Privé ensemble, to a borrowed-from-the-boys suit by Y/Project and custom chaps by Giuseppe Zanotti.
The no-holds-barred fashion chameleon continued to challenge the trickiest trends with ease. The singer stepped out in Saint Laurent’s oversized heart-shaped fur coat (casually teamed up with a pair of frayed denim shorts), sported waist-grazing Vetements boots, and even redefined seasonal appropriate accents by slinging a Balenciaga fur stole over her shoulder in the dead of summer.
As the creative director of Puma, Rihanna debuted her first ready-to-wear collection with the sneaker company during New York Fashion Week in February. Fenty X Puma Fall 2016 featured oversized hoodies, roomy track pants, and lace-up dresses styled with sneaker-stiletto boots. Her sophomore Fenty X Puma Spring 2017 collection was unveiled during Paris Fashion Week, showcasing a series of 18th century-inspired looks through ruffled anoraks, corsets, and floral utilitarian jumpsuits in a frothy color palette of pink, cream and lavender.
She hit a home run with her continuously sold out shoe collections for the brand, consisting of sneakers, fur shower slides, and platform creepers that flew off the shelves in a matter of minutes. The latter silhouette earned the 28-year-old the Footwear News “Shoe of the Year” award, making her the first woman in history to win in the category. The popstar also teamed up with Manolo Blahnik on a shoe collection named Denim Desserts, featuring strappy sandals, boots, and western-inspired chaps.
In her role as brand ambassador for Christian Dior, Rihanna was tapped by the storied Parisian brand to design a line of futurist sunglasses inspired by Star Trek’s Geordi La Forge––this made her the first celebrity ambassador to collaborate on a design project with the heritage brand.
While fans clamor to score her clothing line, shoes, and accessories, soon they will not only be able to dress like Rihanna––they’ll be able to look like her, too. Under the Kendo division, LVMH signed a deal with the singer to create her own brand of makeup called Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, which hits stores next year. This is not the first time she has dipped her toes into the beauty industry––Rihanna also created four makeup collections with MAC.
There’s no slowing down for one of the biggest popstars on the planet in 2017, however, as she will be coming to the big and small screens, flexing her acting skills in the fifth and final season of Bates Motel (the prequel television series to the classic Hitchcock movie Psycho), as well as joining the powerhouse female cast in the upcoming Ocean’s Eight, alongside Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, and Anne Hathaway.
2016 was definitely Rihanna’s year to shine bright like a diamond.