Why it’s actually great that Rihanna looks unrecognizable in the “RiRi – M & S
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Why it’s actually great that Rihanna looks unrecognizable in the “RiRi” fragrance campaign

Ad Campaigns Beauty Celebrity fragrance Celebrity Perfume Fragrance longform OpEd Perfume Rihanna RiRi

Excited to announce my newest fragrance “RiRi”… coming soon! #ThisIsRiRi

A photo posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

The jig is up: celebrities are about as involved in their fragrances as most of us are in the release of them. (Not very.) But for illusion’s sake, most still stay relatively on brand in the official campaigns.

Beyonce, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, and even One Direction have followed a relatively safe formula via inoffensive scents that complement fancy bottles, and the corresponding artwork tends to remain on point. (Seriously: walk into a Shoppers Drug Mart and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)

But Rihanna isn’t like everybody else. We know this because she’s Rihanna, and her aesthetic evolves more consistently than a 2009-era Lady Gaga, and she just released the video for “Bitch Better Have My Money,” which put most episodes of Hannibal to shame. So admittedly, it was surprising when her “RiRi” fragrance campaign was unveiled this morning and she looked . . . glamorous(?).

And not like, Swarovski crystal gown glamorous. Glamorous like, the TV show Dynasty glamorous. And pink! Pink and satiny and with pearls and soft curls. Pink and glamorous in a way we’ve never seen Rihanna be before. Pink and glamorous that — unlike all the other celebrities fronting fragrances — doesn’t seem to represent who she is at all. Because even though she changes her look up on the regular, she’s never changed it up like this. It’s almost like when Laney Boggs went to prom — yeah, she looked great, but she didn’t look herself.

But that’s why I love the “RiRi” campaign so much. First, it marks another moment in her steady aesthetic evolution since being named the face of Dior. And second, we should know by now that we have absolutely no idea who Rihanna is. Rihanna is a performer. A public figure. An actress (lol). We see her on red carpets and during award shows, but who we imagine her to be is our projection. “Rihanna would never wear that much pink!” we say to ourselves.

Who are we to know?

If anything, this campaign acts as another testament to the fact that Rihanna can do anything — that she can be anyone. She will not conform to the aesthetic we align her with, nor will she confine herself to the limitations of wearing only the non-traditional. In her case, pink satin is very non-traditional. So by channeling her inner eighties soap, Rihanna took one of her biggest leaps so far. She is as badass as she is hyper-feminine, and she will not be, say, or do what we or anybody else expects.

I mean, this is the same woman who tells paparazzi to f–k off, who told Kendall Jenner not to go to her concerts (which will always be our favourite #tbt), and who’s perfected the art of throwing shade. She’s a woman who scored a major fashion campaign, has released numerous perfumes, and has been steadily performing since she was a teenager. Rihanna, in a word, is a force.

Which is why seeing her decked out in pink is actually cool, and fun, and exciting. It tells us that Rihanna is everywhere, she will be everyone, and she’s getting hers in the process. She’s exactly as distant from her perfume as anybody else — but by channeling another persona entirely, she’s being upfront about it.

Which is the Rihanna way. And speaking of which, she would really like that money that she loaned you.

The post Why it’s actually great that Rihanna looks unrecognizable in the “RiRi” fragrance campaign appeared first on FASHION Magazine.

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