Fancy with Fenty—10 Facts About Rihanna's LVMH-co-founded Brand

On May 24th, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, the international pop-star-turned-fashion-designer, will unveil her first Fenty collection in Paris at a pop-up store. This takes place just a few days before the actual online launch of the e-shop on www.fenty.com, set for May 29th. On this occasion, Jeremy O. Harris, a New York-based playwright and actor – who has de facto reinterpreted Rihanna's "Work" music in his script for "Slave Play" – interviewed the multi-tasking celebrity and fashion mogul for T Magazine. Here's what we've learned from it and what Rihanna had to say.



FENTY Release 5-19 campaign. Photo: Courtesy of PR. 


1. Fenty is a never-seen-never-done-before luxury brand

Pushing boundaries, what else. Rihanna is officially the first woman ever – and de facto, the first black woman – to found a brand from scratch together with luxury mogul Bernard Arnault at his multi-billion conglomerate LVMH. "I already had a relationship with them after the Versailles campaign (ed.: the Dior advertising featuring Rihanna as the brand's muse in 2015) and the makeup line (ed.: Fenty Beauty is partially funded by LVMH), so they (ed.: LVMH) extended the offer to me and it was a no-brainer because LVMH is a machine. Bernard Arnault was so enthusiastic; he trusted me and my vision."


2. Mel Ottenberg's former assistant is Fenty's new style director 

Jahleel Weaver met Rihanna in 2011, as an assistant to her prominent stylist, Mel Ottenberg, before joining Rihanna's design team at Puma in 2014. He has now been appointed style director at Fenty and has some interesting statements to make on the brand's creative process: "We’re thinking about each release as a different facet to a woman’s wardrobe and how she approaches dressing," he told T Magazine. "Luxury has been defined in the past as ‘one woman, one brand,’ (…) which is fine, but you think about how that relates to the modern woman. I don’t think she is just one thing, Rih being the perfect example of that.”


3. Fenty's concept as a whole makes an empowering statement…

"I use myself as the muse," Rihanna explained. "I feel like we live in a world where people are embracing every bit of who they are." As for the clothing sizes and fits, they will go up to 46 French size, which is the equivalent of XL, and are cut in a body-conscious way. "I love a corset," she stated. "We put a corset in a suit, a dress, a shirt, a denim jacket, and a T-shirt dress." She also advertises "affordable" luxury. With prices ranging from approximatively $200 to around $1,500, Fenty aims to be both a high-quality luxury brand and a people pleaser. Speaking of "people pleaser": the brand will only be sold online, via fenty.com, and via ephemeral pop-ups. There will be no classical, seasonal collections only, but regular ones with "drops" that are added throughout the year. 



FENTY Release 5-19 campaign. Photo: Courtesy of PR. 


4. …and supports the next generation of fashion designers!

"I like to think of my establishment at the Fenty house as a hub. So I am always looking at grad collections, who’s about to leave college, who wants a year here. And we’ve done that with a couple young designers and a couple new ones that are coming in. Even if you’ve never designed something in your life, you might have impeccable taste: I’m welcoming everyone’s vision here, because that’s what it’s gonna take. I can’t just think I know everything. I’m very smart with my control freak – a smart control freak. I welcome other people’s expertise. I love new, young talent." That says it all. 


5. Her approach to fashion design is an empirical one…

She is very conscious that being a designer is not a status, but a process. "I’ve been slowly evolving throughout the fashion world. First wearing it, buying it, being recognized for my style and then collaborating with brands. I never just wanted to put my name on something and sell my license. I’m very hands-on, so I wanted to take it slowly and gain respect as a designer," she told T Magazine.


6. …and her approach to life is both brave and funny. 

An avid learner and hard worker, Rihanna has always been aware of the necessity to challenge herself and do better: "I have a tattoo that’s written backward so I can read it in the mirror: ‘Never a failure. Always a lesson.’ (…) How you gonna learn without making mistakes? Did you believe your mom when she said, ‘Don’t touch the iron’? You had to touch it, right? You had to get burned."

7. She's now a European resident, kind of.

In order to be closer to her long-term boyfriend, the Saudi entrepreneur Hassan Jameel, and closer to Paris, where her LVMH-owned brand is based, Rihanna moved to London and spends her time between the United Kingdom and France. 


8. Rihanna's last name "Fenty" has a regal meaning, apparently. 

According to the interviewer, "Fenty" is a name of Spanish and Portuguese origins and derives from the word “infante,” used in the medieval times as a title for the children of royals. Queen Rih is positively shocked and just replied "Get out of here! That is tripping me out."



FENTY Release 5-19 campaign. Photo: Courtesy of PR. 


9. Her next album will be all about reggae…

Rihanna is exploring the reggae genre on her upcoming album. Date and name of the album are yet to be confirmed – although Rihanna admits that her fans (who call themselves "The Navy") urge her to name it "R9" (ed.: this album being her 9th one). Funnily enough, this move is reminiscent of the time when Snoop Dog moved to Jamaica and released a reggae album himself under his new artist name, Snoop Lion. We can't wait to hear it; after all, Rihanna is a lioness on her own. 


10. …but don't expect Lady Gaga or Drake to be on it. 

Sorry "Aubrih" fans, it seems a reunion is not happening anytime soon. As Rihanna put it herself: "I don’t see it happening. Not on this album, that’s for sure." As for Lady Gaga, the rumors of a collaboration and featuring turned out to be wrong. However, Rihanna says that she's not against the idea. 


You can read Jeremy O. Harris's entire interview here. And see Fenty's first collection here