Style spotlight: Rihanna’s most iconic and glamorous looks from the last decade

Happy birthday, Queen Mother!


By Benedict Unang

Featured images: @fentybeauty / Instagram, @loewe / Instagram
Style spotlight: Rihanna’s most iconic and glamorous looks from the last decade

The “Queen Mother” needs no introduction, but just in case you’re confused as to who that is, we’re talking about the one and only Rihanna. Born on February 20, the Barbadian stunner was only 14 years old when she was discovered by American record producer Evan Rogers in her home country, and earned a record deal with Def Jam Recordings two years later. Since then, the multifaceted lass has shown everyone that the sky’s the limit when it comes to her talents—sweeping the pop music charts in the early 2010s with hit after hit on the radio. 

When she’s not making music (and movies), she thrives in the beauty industry with her Fenty Beauty line and dominates the lingerie business with Savage x Fenty. Rihanna proves that embracing diversity and inclusion in her empire pays off, allowing her to become one of America’s youngest self-made billionaires. In between all of her work, RiRi has managed to cement herself as one of the few fashion icons that embody the breadth and depth of her cultural influence. 

From her recent performance at the Super Bowl LVII Apple halftime show to her countless grand entrances at the Met Gala, the Bad Gal has always marched to the beat of her own drum. She’s not one to shy away from experimenting with bold looks and bright colours. Rihanna exudes confidence in every outfit, and even if she’s pregnant, that will not stop her from dressing however she likes.

That is exactly why Rihanna has gained fashion recognition throughout the years, including being named an icon by the prestigious CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America), a national hero for her native land, the third Black woman to win MTV’s Vanguard Award, and the list goes on! To celebrate the hot mama’s 35th birthday, we are taking a trip down memory lane to some of her best fashion moments within the last decade.


The spectacular Super Bowl comeback


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The suspense for the highly anticipated comeback ended as soon as the Caribbean beauty was in sight, wearing a red-hot ensemble. In the 13-minute set, Rihanna sported a Loewe sculpted leather corset on the inside, paired with a silk jersey red catsuit and a cotton canvas flight suit that contrasted sharply against the dancers’ white outfits. Towards the end of her performance, the singer donned a huge bright red coat by Alaïa as a tender homage to the late Andre Leon Talley, a fashion giant who passed away in January last year. Also, let’s not forget how Rihanna publicly announced that she is expecting her second child by rubbing her pregnant belly—iconic!


Legendary motherhood


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Leave it to RiRi to spice up maternity wear. The Barbadian singer braved the bitter cold in Harlem to debut her baby bump while wearing a vintage Chanel bubblegum pink jacket—setting the fashion world into a frenzy. Her baggy coat was unbuttoned at the bottom, revealing her growing bump adorned with dripping jewels and a massive golden cross. The Grammy-winning superstar completed the ensemble with Amina Muaddi heels, a chain belt, and distressed low-rise Vetement jeans.


A Caribbean treasure


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Rihanna has received numerous accolades throughout her career, but being acknowledged by her nation is probably the sweetest one so far. The proud Bajan was awarded the honour of National Hero of Barbados by the country in a ceremony that heralds a new era for the tiny island. The woman of the hour wore an orange silk halter slip dress by Bottega Veneta, which was a perfect fit for the occasion. Fun fact: Rihanna is the second female in Barbadian history to receive the honour and the 11th overall.


Purple reigns supreme


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Purple is the colour of royalty, and the Caribbean queen certainly looked like one at the 2020 NAACP Image Awards. No stranger to floral-inspired ensembles, the beauty mogul bagged the President’s Award in a ruffled Givenchy dress that is a cut above the rest and a pair of strappy sandals that laced up her calves. A 38-carat Kallati amethyst diamond ring and matching Chopard jewellery were the perfect finishing touches for her ensemble.


Serving looks at Savage x Fenty show


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You can count on RiRi to serve looks, especially at her own Savage x Fenty show. The fashion icon stole the show as she made her way down the New York Fashion Week red carpet, rocking an asymmetrical, form-fitting turquoise dress by Alexandre Vauthier embellished with mint-blue Swarovski crystals. She finished off the look with studded Andy Wolf sunglasses and custom-made strappy sandals by Manolo Blahnik that matched the shade of her dress.




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While the other A-listers attired in a loose rendition of the show’s Catholicism-inspired theme, the pop star outdid herself by dressing as a Pope with a high fashion twist. Living up to her title as the undisputed queen of the Met Gala, Rihanna made a regal entrance in an elaborate, bedazzled three-piece outfit designed by Maison Margiela. The entire look is made up of matching papal mitre and necklace, Cartier jewellery and Christian Louboutin pumps. Hands down, this sartorial tribute is one for fashion history.


Graceful at Harvard


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Who can forget that one clip of Rihanna flipping her low ponytail at the podium? On that historic day, the fashion maven accepted an award at Harvard University in an unexpectedly chic tweed-on-tweed look. Monse’s monochromatic ensemble felt appropriate for the special moment, while the dress’ off-the-shoulder neckline and thigh-high slit added a touch of RiRi’s sexiness. When worn with grey over-the-knee stiletto boots and Jacob & Co diamond earrings, the whole ensemble hit just the right note for the multifaceted icon. 


At the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards

The Bajan beauty accepted the Video Vanguard Award at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards, and being the fashionista she is, she changed into four different outfits throughout the night! Our favourite look had to be the final one, when she belted out her ballads like ‘Diamonds”, “Stay,” and “Love On the Brain.” She was clad in a voluminous silk, and tan Alexandre Vauthier high couture collared gown with matching shoes and a grommet belt that matched perfectly with the gold-plated Moonman she received moments later.


Opulent for the Met Gala


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All eyes were on the fashion icon when she reached the famed stairs of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in a canary yellow cape dress embroidered with flowers by Chinese couturier Guo Pei. Dubbed the “omelette dress” by the internet, the yellow masterpiece weighs 25 kg and has a 16-foot train that took two years to create. Fun fact: Rihanna was reluctant to attend the Met Gala because she felt overdressed, but kudos to her for showing up because the event would not have been the same without her!


Show-stopping bling


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If we had to pick one piece of fashion news that broke the internet, it would have to be this—Rihanna accepting the Fashion Icon Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in a sheer Swarovski crystal-encrusted Adam Selman dress. With matching gloves, a pale pink Pologeorgis fur scarf and Manolo Blahnik heels, her look was everything! It mirrored the glamour of her Hollywood fame while revealing, through its translucent fabrics, an avant-garde style worthy of an icon.


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