In building her empire, Rihanna continues to make history.
For beyond her colossal success on the singles chart, the Bajan belle is bulldozing barriers by becoming the first Black woman to head up her own luxury fashion house under the LVMH umbrella.
Set for a major unveiling on May 22nd, RiRi poses it up for a first look feature in the newest issue of the New York Times’ T Magazine.
In a compelling interview feature, she also confirms she’s working on a Reggae album, and waxes honest about possible collabs with Drake and Lady Gaga.
All the action after the jump…
I’ve been slowly evolving throughout the fashion world. First wearing it, buying it, being recognized for my style and then collaborating with brands. I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I’m very hands-on, so I wanted to take it slowly and gain respect as a designer. I already had a relationship with them after the Versailles campaign and the makeup line, so they extended the offer to me and it was a no-brainer because LVMH is a machine. Bernard Arnault was so enthusiastic; he trusted me and my vision.
“I didn’t even know that until months into our relationship, when Jahleel (my stylist) brought it to my attention. And I’m like, “Are you sure about that? Did you do your research? ’Cause I don’t wanna state a claim that’s [expletive].” Because I still couldn’t believe it. It made me feel proud.
On Growing From Her Party-Girl Persona:
There has been quite an evolution in that party. In the beginning, it was just my culture, my life. And now, the party, believe it or not, is at work. I do not go out. I will go to a dinner. I try to have as much fun as I can during work. And even after work, when I’m literally in my kitchen having a drink, I invite all my staff. And we work, still.
I see them more than my family and spend most of my life with them. It becomes friendship first, and then it leads into family because we lean on each other. I’m sure it’s really different from any other boss-employee relationship.
On Her Evolution:
Even within being “Rihanna,” that freedom didn’t exist for a while. “Good Girl Gone Bad” is where I started to take the reins: “I’m going to do whatever I want to do, I’m taking control of my vision, my sound, my clothes.” I also embraced change along the way — things that make me a better woman, a better human being. Like, even the way I communicate: I’m really proud of my growth on that. I’m proud to walk into any building as this person. Nothing about me makes me embarrassed about me.
On How Her Heritage Has Shaped Her Inclusive Approach To Business:
In my own household, my father is half black, half white. My mom is black from South America. I was seeing diversity. That’s all I knew. Growing up, I wanted to be darker, always. So, making makeup, it wasn’t even a thing I had to think about. I didn’t even really know how bad it was, the void in the market for dark foundation, because all I’d seen was black women put makeup on. I don’t even think 40 shades is enough! And so I added 10 more recently, and we’re not gonna stop there.
On Self-Declared “thicc journey”:
It just changed how I dress in terms of my proportions. You wear what looks good on you and that’s it. I’m thick and curvy right now, and so if I can’t wear my own stuff then, I mean, that’s not gonna work, right? And my size is not the biggest size. It’s actually closer to the smallest size we have: We go up to a [French size] 46. We’re saying we can meet you at any one drop that we put out.
ON MUSIC (!)
Interviewer: Oh, they think you’re doing a collaboration with Lady Gaga.
Rihanna: Maybe because she followed me on Instagram. It’s not in the books right now, but I’m not against it.
Interviewer: Are you going to collaborate with Drake again?30
Rihanna: Not anytime soon, I don’t see it happening. Not on this album, that’s for sure.
Interviewer: What is the album called?
Rihanna: Uh, I don’t know yet.
Interviewer: If you don’t know yet, then you probably don’t know when it’s coming out?
Rihanna: I don’t.
Interviewer: Do you have any names under consideration?
Rihanna: No, so far it’s just been R9, thanks to the Navy. I’m about to call it that probably, ’cause they have haunted me with this “R9, R9, when is R9 coming out?” How will I accept another name after that’s been burned into my skull?
Interviewer: It’s this gift to the fans who have been most hungry for it.
Rihanna: That would be cute.
Great interview! Frank, too.