Boom. Rihanna is back. After announcing her long-awaited return to music with the lead single in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the world’s most prolific multi-hyphenate made a red-carpet comeback that showed fashion is still very much a top priority.
Joining her Black Panther colleagues, including Lupita Nyong’o, Michaela Coel and Danai Gurira, Rihanna chose a Rick Owens gown that semaphored strength. Plucked from the designer’s poetic, elegiac autumn/winter 2022 collection, which showed a softer side to his anarchic vision, the hopeful mood chimed with the film franchise’s themes.
“I have always found great comfort that in the history of the world, good has somehow always managed to triumph over evil,” Owens wrote in his show notes. “During times of heartbreak, beauty can be one of the ways to maintain faith.” If fashion can be something of a balm during times of turbulence, Owens did his best to put that out into the world.
For members of the Navy taking this sequined look at face value, it was business as usual for Rih and A$AP Rocky, who coordinated in a low-key streetwear equivalent of the dress, complete with draped jean hems. Added drama for the singer came via a beige pair of opera gloves, point-toe heels and a smattering of Reza jewellery underneath her tousled hair.
Rihanna could have had her pick of any brand for this moment, but the quiet haunting lyricism at the heart of Owen’s brand was perfect for a taste-maker who never takes the easy route. She’s worn the dark, directional creative’s jersey maxis and hoodies – always black – since as early as 2010, so while Owens is flavour of the month with Gen-Z fashion plates, such as Zendaya, Kendall Jenner and Hunter Schafer, Rih, as always, was ahead of the curve.
This article first appeared in vogue.co.uk