It's been 15 years since Rihanna tossed her hat into the ring with Pon de Replay. As a 17-year-old in slouchy low-rise jeans and a shimmering crop top, a mid-00s pop princess title was quickly bestowed on her by a mesmerised industry.
What they didn’t realise was that Rihanna was not going to subscribe to the cookie cutter pop starlet template. Steering her style into a more directional space with her hands firmly on the wheel, plunging necklines and slick leather pieces soon gave way to the kind of risk-taking capable of completely redefining an image. To collect her Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2014, a sheer Adam Selman dress punctured with 250,000 Swarovski crystals and paired with matching gloves, a hair scarf and a pink fur made it known that fashion boundaries were there to be eroded. Her only regret? The lack of a bedazzled thong.
Since then, iconic hits have followed in quick and steady succession, from shining at the 2015 Met Gala in a 25kg cape and an avant-garde “omelette” dress by Beijing-based couturier Guo Pei, to partying in a custom L'Impasse green fringe jumpsuit in 2016, and a white Dior gown-and-sunglasses moment at Cannes in 2017. Whilst in 2018, she outdid herself by returning to the Met Gala in papal-inspired, head-to-toe Margiela. It was also around this time that her growing tendency to accessorise evening looks with a glass of wine became meme-worthy – a sartorial triumph in its own right.
2019 was a year of rare collectables aka that vintage kimono from John Galliano circa 1995, but it was also the year that LVMH handed her the keys to her own house, FENTY. The embodiment of her namesake label, she debuted luxury streetwear looks like a burnt orange, trench-inspired parka and an ensemble that turned a heather grey sweatshirt into a full suit.
So, what's next? Aside from the long-awaited next album drop, we're holding out for outfits that the release tour will no doubt deliver on.
Want to get Rihanna's look? Shop our curated badgalriri-inspired edit below.