Rihanna Is Officially a Fashion Icon — as Deemed by the CFDA

As far as celebrities go, there’s no denying Rihanna ruled the Paris collections, turning up at Chanel, Dior, Comme des Garçons, Lanvin, and Miu Miu. Of course it’s a show in itself, gallivanting around Paris in the latest designer duds and mugging with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Cara Delevingne — but it’s always amusing when a megastar can titillate even the jaded fashion set. The rest of the year she was exploring the outer limits of pop-star provocation, exposing nip and flashing cannabis motifs at every turn.

Now comes word Rihanna will receive the Fashion Icon Award at the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards at Lincoln Center on June 2, previously awarded to Lady Gaga, Kate Moss, and Iman. She’ll be recognized not only for her iconic status as a recording artist and talented wearer of fashion, but also for her charitable work with the M·A·C AIDS Fund, specifically its Viva Glam campaign. It should be noted she’s also a three-time Vogue cover girl.

Of course slebs are nothing without their stylists, the men and women responsible for assembling those winning looks. Of course, stylists don’t just pull the most stage-worthy outfits from a collection the very moment it’s shown on a runway. They spend months and years interpreting their clients’ sometimes nascent style, becoming the prism through which a pop diva is understood by her legions of fans. In Rihanna’s case, that stylist is Mel Ottenberg, who deserves just as much recognition for the Icon Award. 

For Rihanna, Ottenberg — also a regular contributor to Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue Hommes Int’l, and 032c — pulls a lot of from River Island, a UK line with whom Rihanna has collaborated. The label’s regular designer, Adam Selman, serves as her tour costume designer; plus, he’s Ottenberg’s partner, making for one cozy threeway. A few years back, the trio collaborated with jewelry designer Tom Binns on one of Rihanna’s more standout and still enduring looks, a hand-painted, rainbow-colored, Swarovski-encrusted bikini. Naturally she wore it onstage during her Loud tour because that’s how icons roll.

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