It is undeniable that Rihanna’s style is iconic, innovative, fresh, and provocative. After ‘Stay’ hit number one on the charts, she made Billboard history as being the first artist to have ten number 1 singles. Rihanna is at the top of her game and a style icon around the world. A lot of work goes into creating Rihanna’s signature bad-girl image which makes her recognizable as a trend-setter and fashion innovator, always pushing the boundaries a step further. The man behind the magic is Mel Ottenberg, Rihanna’s stylist, and Refinery29 recently interviewed him to discover the secrets to creating her image. Here are some of his most memorable quotes from the interview.
On her Diamonds tour costumes:
“I really wanted it all to feel custom for her. I got to work with designers who I really admire, like Raf Simons, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, and Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, who were all psyched to work with her because Rihanna is such a major icon. I feel like they’re all guys that are very much in fashion and not a part of showbiz.”
On creating her unique style:
“I wanted to create something unique, because in this day and age, everyone thinks it’s all the same watered-down looks, and Rihanna isn’t like that. She’s not looking at other people for competition; she’s just doing her own thing.”
On clashing over her image:
“We definitely have some back-and-forth moments, but she’s in control of her image. It’s very collaborative. It’s a different process for everything, but quite often there’s a creative [process] for a performance or video, and I have to figure out what the looks will be. I show her different ideas, and we talk about it.”
On her red carpet looks:
“It’s really spur of the moment when it comes to the edgier looks. Most of it comes from some street thing. It’s more thought out for the red carpet. The planning starts months in advance with all the sketches and planning with design houses. There’s a lot of back and forth– even things like the tour started months before anything.”
On her Chanel pearl sunglasses:
“She wore these pearl Chanel sunglasses that got a lot of press for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. They’re from 1993, and I had them on my inspiration board. Somehow they found their way into the show–which was pretty amazing. I’m always out looking for stuff, both new and old, that I haven’t seen before that’ll be exciting. Even for the tour, the vintage things are all from secret places. I have amazing vintage dealers, and we do a ton of custom shoes — all of the shoes on the tour are custom. Those are the kind of details that really make something special.”
And his best piece of advice when asked about Rihanna’s bedroom style…
“Let’s be real: get naked.”
The full interview can be read in Refinery29.