Among her many titles as the reigning multihyphenate of our time, Rihanna’s status as a fashion icon may be the one that best encapsulates the power and reach of her cultural influence. While the bad gal has always marched to the beat of her own style drum, she’s also used her love of fashion to send a message and start multiple businesses, even making history in the process.
Rihanna has always been known for her fearlessness, and that extends to her fashion sensibility. There are few celebrities that move as easily on the Met Gala red carpet in an avant garde Comme des Garçons ensemble as they do in self-referential streetwear as Rihanna does.
She’s been named a “fashion icon” by the Council of Fashion Designers of America, had fashion collaborations with the likes of Armani and Puma, been a brand ambassador for fashion houses like Dior, and launched her own fashion and beauty lines, including Savage x Fenty lingerie and athletic wear, and her now-paused luxury offering, Fenty, an LVMH-backed brand that was the first luxury line at the fashion conglomerate to be headed up by a Black woman. Which is to say, when it comes to fashion, Rihanna is a veritable powerhouse and with her biggest stage yet headlining this year’s halftime show at Super Bowl LVII, there’s no doubt that there will plenty more memorable fashion looks to look forward to. With that in mind, we’re taking a look back at Rihanna’s best fashion moments over the years.
Grammys, February 2013
For the 2013 Grammys, Rihanna turned up the heat in a bright red custom gown with a dramatic train from Azzedine Alaia.
NBA Game, April 2013
Christian Petersen—Getty ImagesRihanna walks off the court following the NBA game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers in Los Angeles, on April 7, 2013.
It might have been an NBA game, but with Rihanna in attendance, not all the excitement was on the court. The singer made a case for casual cool with a rock-inspired tank top and matching sweat pants, which she paired with a pair of stiletto heels and a backwards snapback cap.
Dior fashion show, February 2014
Rindoff Petroff—Dufour/Getty Images; Patrick Kovarik—AFP/Getty ImagesRihanna attends the Christian Dior show as part of the Paris Fashion Week on Feb. 28, 2014.
Rihanna turned heads at Paris Fashion Week with a glamorous and risqué look. Sporting a red fur jacket, a sharp bob, thigh high stockings, and mirrored sunglasses, she made the front row at the Dior show that much more exciting with her daring ensemble.
Chanel fashion show, March 2014
For the grocery store-themed Chanel fashion show during Paris Fashion Week in March 2014, Rihanna paired a lavender Chanel skirt set with sporty accessories: matching athletic shoes and a cheeky fanny pack.
iHeartRadio Music Awards, May 2014
Rihanna went for 90s-inspired grunge glamour to attend the 2014 iHeartRadio music awards, where she wore a sheer lace gown paired with bantu knots, blue lipstick, and lots of silver jewelry.
CFDA Awards, June 2014
Larry Busacca—Getty Images; Lars Niki—Corbis/Getty Images Rihanna attends the 2014 CFDA fashion awards at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center in New York on June 2, 2014.
Rihanna made fashion history when she showed up to collect her Fashion Icon award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America in a sheer, barely there custom Adam Selman gown and matching head scarf. According to Selman, the dress, which was made out of fishnet, was covered in over 230,000 Swarvowski crystals, which were all hand-applied.
Read More: The 10 Best Rihanna Performances of All Time
Dior Cruise show, August 2014
Rihanna channeled ladylike vibes to attend the Dior Cruise show in August 2014. Sporting a pastel pink sheath dress with a ruffled hem, she opted for pearl jewelry with unexpected twists, delicate heels, and a high ponytail.
Grammys, February 2015
Jason Merritt—Getty ImagesRihanna attends The 57th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, on Feb 8, 2015.
Rihanna’s sweetly feminine and very voluminous tulle Giambattista Valli gown took up so much space on the red carpet that it went viral online, launching memes for days.
Coachella, April 2015
Christopher Polk—Getty ImagesRihanna attends the 2015 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif.
Rihanna cut a striking figure at Coachella in 2015 when she attended the festival wearing a long purple fur coat with drop sleeves and accessorized the look with glamorous black sunglasses and hot pink combat boots.
Met Gala, May 2015
Karwai Tang—WireImage/Getty Images; Dimitrios Kambouris—Getty ImagesRihanna attends the “China: Through The Looking Glass” Costume Institute Benefit Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 4, 2015.
All eyes were on Rihanna when she stepped onto the famed steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art for the 2015 Met Gala in a dramatic and sweeping egg yolk yellow Guo Pei cape. The singer was lauded for being one of the attendees to wear a Chinese designer to the event, whose theme was “China: Through the Looking Glass.”
Fenty x Puma runway show, February 2016
JP Yim—FENTY PUMA/Getty Images Rihanna walks the runway at the Fenty Puma by Rihanna AW16 Collection during Fall 2016 New York Fashion Week on Feb. 12, 2016.
One of Rihanna’s earliest and most successful forays into fashion was her partnership with Puma, who named her their women’s creative director in 2015. Along with a wildly successful hero product, a signature sneaker, Rihanna produced a series of popular runway shows for the brand, including this February 2016 show, where she took to the runway in a cozy but chic oversized hooded sweatshirt.
NYC, September 2016
Robert Kamau—GC Images/Getty ImagesRihanna seen out in Manhattan on Sept. 5, 2016.
Rihanna made the case for the statement coat when she hit the streets of New York City in a bright red Saint Laurent coat that was shaped like a gigantic heart.
Paris fashion week, September 2016
Jacopo Raule—Dior/Getty ImagesRihanna attends the Christian Dior show as part of the Paris Fashion Week on Sept. 30, 2016.
As the first Black woman to be a Dior ambassador, Rihanna has been a fixture of the brand’s front row for years. Here, she donned one of the house’s dresses, a short white embellished dress with cold shoulder accents, for a fashion show in September 2016. She accessorized the look with a pair of mirrored sunglasses and a matching handbag.
On-set in Brooklyn, November 2016
Raymond Hall—GC Images/Getty Images (2)Rihanna arrived on “Ocean Eight” set in Brooklyn wearing a Hillary Clinton T-shirt on Nov. 8, 2016
Rihanna got meta with her look when she was spotted on set in Brooklyn, filming for Ocean’s Eight on election day in 2016. Previously photographed wearing a shirt emblazoned with an image of Hillary Clinton in a Yankees fitted cap, Rihanna then wore a shirt with the photo of her wearing the earlier shirt, along with the caption: “I’m with her. And her.”
Met Gala, May 2017
Neilson Barnard—Getty Images; Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty ImagesRihanna attends the “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” Costume Institute Gala at Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 1, 2017.
Rihanna showed that she was just as comfortable donning the avant garde as she was more conventional looks when she showed up to the 2017 Met Gala, which honored the work of Comme des Garçons designer, Rei Kawakubo, in full Comme des Garçons.
Cannes Film Festival, May 2017
Francois Durand—Getty ImagesRihanna attends the “Okja” screening during the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 19, 2017.
Rihanna stopped traffic at the Cannes Film Festival when she hit the red carpet to attend a screening of the film, Okja. For the screening, she wore a cream Dior haute couture dress with a matching jacket, accessorizing the glamorous look with a tiny pair of matching sunglasses.
Parsons School of Design Benefit, May 2017
Rihanna channeled a menswear moment in a custom khaki double breasted and oversized suit by Parsons alum Matthew Adams Dolan at the Parsons School of Design Benefit; in addition to attending to show support for Dolan and other Parsons students past and present, she was also honored for her performance, design, and dedication to social good.
Valerian premiere in Los Angeles, July 2017
Todd Williamson—Getty ImagesRihanna attends the premiere “Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets” in Hollywood, on July 17, 2017.
Rihanna looked pretty in pink when she showed up to the premiere of her movie Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets in Los Angeles in July 2017. For the premiere, Rihanna selected a pale pink tulle mini dress with a sweeping train by the designer Giambattista Valli.
Valerian premiere in London, July 2017
Tim P. Whitby—Getty Images; Samir Hussein—WireImage/Getty ImagesRihanna attends the “Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets” European Premiere at Cineworld Leicester Square in London on July 24, 2017.
Rihanna continued her press tour serves with a bright red Giambattista Valli floor-length ball gown, punctuated by an empire waist and a tiered skirt.
Met Gala, May 2018
Jackson Lee/Getty Images; John Shearer —The Hollywood Reporter/Getty Images Rihanna attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018.
Rihanna, long one of the few celebrities who will really commit to a theme for the Met Gala, was one of the co-chairs of the event in 2018, where the theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination. As might be expected, the bad gal did not disappoint, dressing up like the pope himself in a custom Margiela look, consisting of a corseted mini dress, a papal robe-inspired outer jacket, and of course, bejeweled miter.
Savage x Fenty Show, September 2018
Rihanna debuted her first Savage x Fenty collection at New York Fashion Week in September 2018. While her models strutted their stuff in her lingerie brand, Rihanna opted to show off her Savage x Fenty bra under a sheer brown Dolce & Gabbana body con dress. She accessorized the look with a pair of matching skinny sunglasses and a riding crop.
NAACP Image Awards, February 2020
Rich Fury—Getty ImagesRihanna accepts the President’s Award onstage during the 51st NAACP Image Awards in Pasadena, Calif. on Feb. 22, 2020.
Rihanna received a standing ovation at the NAACP Image Awards in February 2022, where she was honored with the President’s Award for her exceptional philanthropic efforts with her nonprofit, the Clara Lionel Foundation. She cut a striking figure on the stage, wearing a vibrant purple couture gown from Givenchy.
Met Gala, May 2021
Lexie Moreland—WWD/Penske Media /Getty Images; Arturo Holmes—MG21/Getty ImagesRihanna attends The 2021 Met Gala Celebrating In America: A Lexicon Of Fashion at Metropolitan Museum of Art on Sept. 13, 2021.
Rihanna took outerwear to the next level when she showed up the steps of the Met Gala in an oversized puffer jacket gown from Balenciaga. She paired the unexpected look with plenty of diamond jewelry, a beanie hat, and a sparkling, crystal-encrusted durag.
Fenty Beauty event, February 2022
Rich Fury—Fenty Beauty and Fenty Skin/Getty Images (2)Rihanna celebrates Fenty Beauty & Fenty Skin at Goya Studios in Los Angeles on Feb. 11, 2022.
Rihanna displayed her growing pregnancy with a sparkling green crop top and low-slung, sequined ombre pants at a Fenty Beauty event in Los Angeles in February 2022.
Dior fashion show, March 2022
Marc Piasecki—WireImage/Getty ImagesRihanna attends the Dior Womenswear Fall/Winter 2022/2023 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on March 1, 2022.
It’s safe to say that Rihanna rewrote the rules of maternity fashion when she showed off her baby bump in a sheer black dress and black lingerie, along with a patent leather jacket and stiletto boots, while attending the Dior fashion show in Paris in March 2022.