Some of the most memorable moments in fashion are moments that break the boundaries and show something completely new. Back in the day, Marilyn Monroe’s white dress was a very big scandal as it was completely strange to see women “showing that much skin.” That level of sexiness was then more common, but every now, and then we encounter other scandalous moments that take fashion to another level.

“ (Lingerie) It is not for the men, it’s for the women”

So when Rihanna showed up at the CFDA Awards to be honored with the 2014 Icon of the Year Prize, she showed us something different. There were many factors involved in this look. On the one hand, there was transparency, a lot of it. Let’s remember that this look was before the Kardashians showed a lot of transparency on the red carpet, and it became a common practice. 

 On the other hand, there is an element of simplicity and luxury in the design. The silhouette is very simple, but it is covered with 216,000 Swarovski crystals—a literal interpretation of shining bright like a diamond. The juxtaposition of nudity with crystals, the faux fur scarf, and the headpiece are quite unique. This red carpet look is not far from being a decade old, and it is still an inspiration for designers, fashionistas, illustrators, and drag queens. 

Rihanna is a figure who has revolutionized the beauty industry, being one of the first celebrities to lead successful businesses with inclusive values in mind.

Rihanna and the Met Gala

Every year, the Met Gala proposes a theme that guests should use as inspiration for the clothes they wear to the red carpet. Some of these themes have included punk, fashion and technology, superheroes, and Chinese influence in global fashion. Rihanna has been one of the guests whose clothes make it to the best-dressed lists almost every time. Her creative team is very good at developing concepts that are fashion-forward but still true to who Rihanna is as an artist. One of the most memorable Met Gala looks from Rihanna, is probably the one she wore for the theme Fashion and the Catholic Imagination in 2018.

Rihanna’s outfit for the Met Gala 2018 took 750 hours to make. Image Courtesy of Insider. 

Rumor has it that three versions of this outfit were made for Rihanna to choose from. It was until the day of the Met gala that Anna Wintour (host of the event) found out the singer’s final decision. The headpiece is inspired by papal tiaras that popes used to wear during medieval times and until the second half of the last century. The design is absolutely clever as it takes visual inspiration from traditional papal attire while featuring a corset and an ankle bracelet. The outfit can be interpreted as a feminine version of a papal costume or maybe as a statement on have Popes have been male only (with the exception of Pope Joan, who, according to the legend, was a woman who reigned as a pope for two years before being caught). 

Fashion, like other mediums of art, is subject to interpretation. This outfit from Rihanna can be interpreted in so many different ways, and that is a sign of a memorable outfit and a true political fashion moment. 

Rihanna wore Maison Margiela.  Image Courtesy of Vogue. 

Throughout her red carpet dresses, fashion shows, and promotion events for her line Fenty, we didn’t see maternity jeans or flowy dresses that cover the whole body. 

Rihanna and pregnancy 

Rihanna pregnant made some controversial statements with her clothes, not only about fashion but also about the perception of pregnant women and their bodies. Image Courtesy of Teen Vogue. 

In 2022 we had a lot of conversations about women and the right to control their own bodies. It was particularly during the last trimester of Rihanna’s pregnancy that we started seeing a lot of Rihanna’s fashion in the headlines of magazines, blogs, and newspapers: a green draped fringe top, sheer, organza dress, black, baby doll or a vinyl bra. These are not garments that are often associated with “maternity clothes.” For many people, these might even be inappropriate clothes for any kind of person, regardless of pregnancy status. Rihanna’s maternity style in 2022 was a true Political Fashion statement. It was less about what she wore and more about what she was not wearing. It put her in control of her own body, going against the narrative that “women show skin to attract men.” Rihanna showed skin because she felt comfortable doing so because it was her desire to do so. These clothing decisions offended many people, as for a very long time, it has been thought that pregnant women should stay home and cover their belly and their entire body.

Rihanna’s almost naked body made it to the pages of Vogue magazine, making a historic fashion editorial. Image Courtesy of Vogue. 

Pregnant Rihanna and her clever fashion choices. Image Courtesy of Page Six. 

The taste of some of these outfits is debatable. It is true. But it is also true that Rihanna inspired a new generation of pregnant people, who will live their pregnancy in a way that feels more liberating, and that doesn’t feel the need to hide their bodies. Rihanna showed her naked pregnant body in Vogue, a fashion magazine. Because not wearing clothes is political fashion, when you go against the pre-established ideas for pregnant women that the singer and businesswoman decided not to follow any longer. 

Rihanna and the Super Bowl

Rihanna’s songs were played worldwide during the Superbowl Halftime show. Image Courtesy of Rolling Stone.

On September 2022, a picture of a hand holding a football on Rihanna’s Instagram page got millions of likes. This was the official confirmation that she would be performing at the Super Bowl’s Halftime show, which meant singing after over six years without releasing new music. 

The fans were excited. They have been supportive of Rihanna’s journey in the cosmetic and fashion industries, but they were also looking forward to new music and new performances from their favorite artist. 

Cara Delevingne wearing a t-shirt by Fenty. Image Courtesy of US Weekly

Rihanna didn’t miss the opportunity to launch a series of campaigns, products, and posts related to the Super Bowl. Some t-shirts read “A Rihanna’s concert in the middle of a football game, weird but whatever” that fashion model Cara Delevigne ended up wearing to watch the game. There were also limited edition Fenty Beauty products inspired by football.

When the day of the Super Bowl came, there were many rumors about any official announcements from Rihanna. Would she announce a tour as Lady Gaga did after her halftime performance in 2017? Would she release new music? What songs would she perform during her halftime show?

The show started with Rihanna wearing an entirely red outfit. She didn’t have any significant clothing changes during her performance, but she leveraged a few seconds to put some Fenty Beauty makeup on before the last segment of her performance. 

The official announcement that came was the reveal of her second pregnancy that Rihanna’s team confirmed a few minutes after her performance ended. Rihanna was trending on Twitter, with thousands of people wondering about this later confirmed rumor. 


Rihanna’s fashion for the Halftime show is very likely to set Image Courtesy of the Telegraph.

As with other Rihanna Political Fashion moments, this performance and reveal strategy can be subject to several interpretations. 

With so many people expecting her to go back to singing, performing, and releasing new music, Rihanna took this opportunity to fulfill the task of performing during the Halftime show, with a beautiful voice and spectacular singers but with a modest level of production compared to previous years. If she used this moment to announce her pregnancy, she was perhaps announcing to the world where her priorities are and how she is focused on building a family and growing and expanding her business. Perhaps music is not her strongest passion at the moment. 

Fashion is an outlet for me to express myself, to speak up, to say who I am and to be very loud about it at times

On the other hand, her clothes are another subject of discussion. The red outfit that Rihanna wore for her performance is very likely to set maternity trends for the next couple of years. It carries a different weight than the maternity style she followed during her first pregnancy. The puffers and athletic shoes illustrate an active person. Someone who is moving around and, against conservative narratives, doesn’t plan to stay home, sitting down during her whole pregnancy. There were no deep necklines, no high heels, no wigs, and no drastic clothing changes. Appearance is important, as we know that most of the information we consume enters through our eyes. But at the same time, Rihanna showed that she could deliver a 14-minute performance and sing flawlessly. 

She didn’t focus on sexiness, as she has in previous moments of her career. This was the moment of her pregnancy reveal, showing the world how proud she was of becoming a mom for the second time. 

Many people on Twitter opened a conversation about how different people evaluate male halftime show performances versus female halftime show performances. Jennifer Lopez pole danced, changed her clothes at least three times, and made a political statement against the 45th President in six minutes. Male singers usually have modest productions and choreography, and the reactions between these two are relatively similar. Perhaps Rihanna was trying to open a conversation about this matter.


Shine bright like a diamond. Image Courtesy of Reuters.

And last but not least, there was a tribute to one of Rihanna’s dear friends, a person who revolutionized the fashion industry and whose name doesn’t have the recognition that he deserves. He was a visionary, a creative person, and a pioneer in a segregative business who swam against the tide to follow his true passion. His name was Andre Leon Talley. Talley was the editor-at-large of Vogue magazine. He was a stylist, a creative director, and an expert when it came to recognizing emerging talent, particularly POC talent. 

Andre Leon Talley wore a red coat as a signature look. Rihanna paid him a tribute during her Superbowl Halftime show performance.  Image Courtesy of Reddit. 

Rihanna wore a long red coat, similar to an iconic look worn by a late Talley. The tribute becomes more meaningful when the singer’s platform on the field goes up, and she starts performing Diamonds. The official Instagram page of Talley shared photos from this moment in a post that reads: “When the sun shines, we’ll shine together. Told you I’ll be here forever... said I’ll always be your friend @badgalriri”