Rihanna debuted her first-ever fashion collection as part of London Fashion Week, and depending on who you believe, it was an unmitigated disaster or a triumph of young, streetwise style.
The presentation of the collection, a joint venture with the British brand River Island, was presented Saturday night in a decommissioned post office on London’s New Oxford Street, and lasted just nine minutes, according to the British paper The Sun, which said that the show got underway 50 minutes late because Rihanna was tardy.
The Daily Beast called the 120-piece collection “hideous,” lacking either “panache or style.” The website’s critic also labeled Rihanna’s clothes “unsurprisingly slutty and yet tiresomely predictable,” and suggested that if a guy were to meet a girl in a bar wearing one of the looks, he might think she was a prostitute. Furthermore, the critic slammed Rihanna’s latest project as a “cynical marketing exercise entirely devoid of inspiration or authenticity.” Ouch.
However, Elle UK praised the collection, saying it was “an ode to all things high fashion,” describing it as “Eighties Norma Kamali meets Alexander Wang luxe sportswear.” Among the standout pieces, according to Elle: a black jersey column evening dress, a bra top, a navy cropped sweatshirt, a denim jumpsuit and a jersey skirt with a silk shirt attached.
“Rihanna really does have a great eye for fashion and the attention to details and styling elevated the collection to proper collector’s item status,” concluded the magazine.
While the British paper The Observer predicted that Rihanna’s designs were “sure to be a hit with River Island customers,” and said it would be “a winner” when it hits stores in March, ultimately, the paper said the collection “undoubtedly fell short” for those fashion fans who look to London for innovative ideas.
But MTV.com was a big fan, describing the collection as a mix of “girly 90s grunge and streetwear,” praising a two-piece denim ensemble, a two-piece black bodysuit with an oversized parka and thigh-high boots, a tie-dye off-the-shoulder cropped top and flirty skirt and the “very ’90s floral pattern” she put on blouses, shorts and dresses.
Rihanna’s co-designer, Adam Selman, told Vogue UK that the singer was “heavily involved” in all the designs.
“This collection is very based upon Ri’s style and her mood — so it’s evolved a lot,” he said. “This all comes from her — it’s very personal. She’s at the top of her game right now in terms of her career and in herself. She’s in a really good place.”
He added that the collection was “urban-inspired, unfussy with a hint of uptown” and is targeted at “cool hip girls who aren’t super thin”.
The collection of clothing and accessories will launch internationally at River Island stores online on March 5. Since River Island is a U.K. brand with no stores in the U.S., you’ll be able to buy it in the U.S. and in Japan at Opening Ceremony, an online and retail fashion destination.