Diamond Girl: Behind the Scenes of Rihanna’s World Tour Wardrobe
When your world tour is called Diamonds, the wardrobe had better sparkle. Luckily, Rihanna had stylist Mel Ottenberg on hand to ensure that her looks do just that. Featuring a total of—count ‘em—seven costumes, each of which was custom made by a megawatt designer (think Riccardo Tisci, Raf Simons, Alber Elbaz, and Adam Selman—Rihanna’s River Island collaborator), the pop star’s onstage wares boast everything from holographs to “orgy” embroidery (courtesy of Givenchy, naturally). “The most amazing thing about Rihanna is what a chameleon she is,” said Ottenberg, who’s worked with Riri for two years. “She’s always up for something new. She’s fearless, she knows what she likes, and it’s fun to see which ideas she’ll jump for.”
The Diamonds lineup begins with a bespoke black Givenchy Couture cape, embroidered coat, shorts, bra, and boots, and ends with a shimmering tailor-made Lanvin jumpsuit. “Riccardo blew it out of the park,” said Ottenberg. “And Givenchy went above and beyond with the level of customization, and dealing with all the pop-world craziness.” (Adding to said craziness was the fact that the entire wardrobe had to be put together in the middle of fashion week.) “And with Lanvin, I knew that, more than anybody, [Alber] would just murder a strong sparkly look to work with the idea of Diamonds.” Each outfit, Ottenberg tells us, plays off creative director Willo Perron’s multi-themed tour concept. For instance, one section, during which Rihanna sings “Rude Boy” and “Man Down,” has a hip-hop-cum-dance-hall vibe. This is where Raf Simons’ graphic oversize T-shirt dress (which is worn with Louboutin boots and a Michael Schmidt nameplate necklace) comes in. For a more rock ‘n’ roll section, Selman created a red-and-yellow leather bra and pants ensemble that’s finished off with white Manolo Blahnik boots. “It was eighties David Lee Roth bouncing around on stage mixed with a sleek Lamborghini/Ferrari situation,” Ottenberg laughs. And Selman’s much-talked-about holographic money-print dress and coat—which Rihanna wears during a rave portion of the show—actually began with a pair of Pierre Hardy sneakers made just for the tour. “The whole thing is very Thug Life Tupac mixed with nineties candy raver,” Ottenberg explained. Forget the music (well no, don’t—it’s pretty great). Rihanna’s tour is a sartorial odyssey not to be missed.
Click for a slideshow of performance snaps and exclusive sketches by Givenchy’s Riccardo Tisci, Dior’s Raf Simons, Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, and Adam Selman.