When Rihanna took the stage at the 2016 FN Achievement Awards to accept the shoe of the year award, the music and fashion star said the honor made her “proud to be a woman, and proud to be a young woman from Barbados, especially.”
Three years later, that young woman from Barbados is making an unprecedented move in fashion with her new LVMH Fenty brand, which was officially confirmed today and will include shoes, one of her favorite product categories.
Here are 3 ways Rihanna — who previously partnered with Puma on her Fenty collection and teamed up with Manolo Blahnik for a shoe collab — will revolutionize the luxury world.
1. Rihanna officially becomes the first woman to launch an original brand at LVMH — and the first woman of color to run a brand at the venerable fashion house. There’s no question that fashion companies in all areas of the market have lagged behind in addressing gender and racial diversity, but we are finally at a tipping point. Rihanna’s leadership at LVMH will be a huge advantage for the company, which also brought in Virgil Abloh last year as its first African American creative director at Louis Vuitton. Diverse voices are good for business, and Rihanna’s huge influence will be felt across LVMH and beyond.
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2. Fenty will be the first fashion brand launched from inception by LVMH magnate Bernard Arnault since Christian Lacroix in 1987. Much of the European fashion industry is still driven by heritage fashion houses that have been built and rebuilt. The biggest names in French fashion — Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent — have ruled for years. Rihanna has been given the opportunity to build a brand from scratch. There’s no doubt she will rewrite some of the rules, starting with her mission to make Fenty inclusive across races, genders and sizes.
3. The label is debuting for spring ’19, which means it will roll out imminently. Often, brands and celebrities announce their new ventures and then fans have to wait for months or even years to get their hands on the actual product. Rihanna’s clothes and shoes will be available shortly on fenty.com, which will help fuel the excitement among fans. Whether Rihanna will put on runway shows in the future remains to be seen, but the songstress-turned-designer has already proven that she’s knows how to put on a show with high-energy runway outings in Paris and New York during her Puma era.