Courageous, Influential, unstoppable, fearless, a natural-born leader. Oh, and pretty damn fine all-round fabulous. Here, pop and culture collide as we look at the Rihanna effect. Here, read the full cover story and see every picture from Vogue Australia’s May 2019 issue.
For anyone else it would be tough to put women dressed in underwear centre stage. And to be taken seriously by women? Forget it. But Rihanna, who does just that with her lingerie line, knows inclusivity and knows what women might want. It’s a knowing that’s seemingly second nature to our ‘kween’ of heart and soul.
Since her Savage X Fenty lingerie debuted one year ago, she has taken a completely and undeniably empowering approach to the business of making us feel really good about ourselves from the inside out, whatever our body type, culture, age or life stage. She has channelled her own intuition about how things in this cruel and careless world could be, and all her boundless energy has quite simply connected.
Perhaps she has managed it because she isn’t the prescriptive skinny (white) woman. She has embraced her own body type, real curves and all, and she isn’t insecure or self-conscious about it, which for a global phenomenon is unheard of. Refreshing. It comes from a good place, and for her Navy, as she likes to refer to those women who follow her – @badgalriri 69 million and rising – she naturally leads and inspires. Her position is unique.
For our Vogue sitting, which took place in London long into the night, she wanted to share her own brand of Savage X Fenty, one styled with strong shapes and great tailoring and which, unsurprisingly, turned out to be super-boss. Because that’s who she is.
And so her Savage X Fenty shows and campaigns have been from the beginning a clever celebration of difference, showcasing women of different weight, height, cultures and races; women who are plus-size, pregnant, women who have stretch marks and cellulite. Yes, she is here for us all – no criteria needed. What a relief to be comfortable in our own skin. Her aim has never been to make women feel sexy: it’s always been to make us feel like us. Alive and sensual.
Her clever and extensive Fenty Beauty make-up collection, which launched almost two years ago, catering to all nationalities and skin types, had already set a new bar. Lingerie and make-up together are like a double whammy: two things women can have that don’t have to be super-showy, yet help them feel empowered. It’s about personal confidence – no need to please anyone but yourself.
Rihanna has a ‘right here, right now’ clear-sighted and inclusive attitude that women want, and so it feels good to embody a little of her essence. She ain’t afraid. All the way through her music, the legendary records, the vulnerability has always resonated and she has she let us in: sharing her emotion candidly has been one of her strengths. Body positive, mind positive. And we will run the world fortified, Fenty-fied perhaps, in some way. Hear her raw.
This article will appear in Vogue Australia’s May 2019 issue, on sale Monday, April 29.