After pulling the biggest stunt at the 2015 Met Gala in that wig-snatching Guo Pei number, Rihanna returns to the top of the fashion heap in the latest campaign for Dior. The Bajan sensation is the first black spokesperson in the iconic house's near 70-year history.
"It is such a big deal for me, for my culture, for a lot of young girls of any color," the pop superstar said two months ago when news of her collaboration first dropped. "To be acknowledged by Dior means a lot, as a woman."
Last year, RiRi was officially annointed a fashion icon at the CFDA Awards, the same night Dior's creative director Raf Simons took home the International Award. Little did we know that was the start of a beautiful friendship. Since then, Rihanna's been something of a fixture at Dior's front row, but her appointment as muse might still come as a surprise.
Just two years ago Simons was criticized for his ethnically homogenous runway shows. Perhaps in response, Simons cast six models of color for his fall couture collection, including Alek Wek and Joan Smalls. Then one must also take into consideration that Rihanna's no Jennifer Lawrence -- tripping up a flight of stairs in a strapless gown on her way to get an Oscar. She's more likely flipping the bird in Balmain or dropping down to get her eagle on in Givenchy.
Her style has always been a bit riskier, a bit more avant garde, and a bit more "not there." There have been entire years when homegirl hasn't worn pants. And what glorious years they were.
However, unlike a Vogue cover, they're not just giving out that Fashion Icon Award to just anyone. Rihanna's annointment by the CFDA and now Dior marks the fashion industry's growing acceptance of social media's impact. A source no less than legendary designer Tom Ford noted that Rihanna's Instagram is more influential now than any review. To wit, this year's recipient of the CFDA's Eugenia Sheppard Media Award: Instagram.
Perhaps Balmain creative director (and Out cover boy) Olivier Rousteing puts it best when accounting Rihanna's fashion receipts.
"When you look at an old Versace show, you loved the dress, but you loved Claudia Schiffer, you loved Cindy Crawford. Supermodels! With Rihanna you get that too," he told The Independent last year. "Today people are looking at Rihanna like they were looking at Naomi Campbell or Claudia."
See the supermodel of the world turning it out in the latest Dior campaign shot by Steven Klein and styled by Mel Ottenberg. RiRi also stars in a short film as part of Dior's Secret Garden series, also shot by Klein, and featuring the track "Only If for a Night" from her new album, R8.