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“This party is a little too turnt up for a weekday.” It was Monday at 7:30 p.m. and as one partygoer so eloquently mused, the vibe at Opening Ceremony was “turnt up.” The occasion? A launch party for M$$ x WT, Melissa Forde’s new line of bucket hats, a one-off capsule collection for rapper Wale’s Wrkng Title hat line. As Rihanna’s resident bestie-sidekick, Forde has learned to party with the best of them, and for her own debut, she decided to show those skills off — Monday night be damned.

Revelers packed into the space, popping into a makeshift photobooth and bopping to the DJ’s playlist, a stream of Jay Z and Kanye West hits played several decibels too loud.

This story first appeared in the April 1, 2015 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Forde rode solo for the majority of the evening, flitting around the SoHo store in a hat of her own design and sipping out of a plastic cup filled with D’ussé, a cognac favored by rappers and the party’s only alcoholic option. “I really love Opening Ceremony, not to be biased,” Forde said. “I just really like the store.” The feeling was seemingly mutual, as designer Humberto Leon arrived early in the evening to show his support — or maybe just to make sure no D’ussé was spilled on the Dries van Noten.

The real question of the night was whether RiRi herself was going to stop by. All signs pointed to yes — she had appeared at Jay Z’s Tidal press conference in the city earlier that afternoon, and hey, what kind of BFF doesn’t show up? Around 8:30 p.m., a round of paparazzi flash bulbs erupted outside the store, cueing a crush of iPhone cameras to be raised in anticipation. Alas, it was just Kevin Durant. The towering basketballer lumbered over to Forde and posed for a few pictures before heading out.

The clock ticked closer to 9, the party’s slated end time. But moments later the DJ queued up the singer’s 2011 hit “You Da One,” and in glided the bad girl herself. Clad in a graffiti print Raf Simons coat, bra top, jean shorts and pineapple-printed bucket hat, she made a beeline for Forde. The two hammed it up for the cameras, before Rihanna made her way to the bar. “I love them,” she told WWD of the hat line, sipping on her cognac on the rocks. “This pineapple one is my favorite….I thought the Rastafarian print one would be my favorite, but this pineapple print is just epic. It makes me want summer to be here right now.” Drink secured, she made her way back toward Forde. Once the pair were reunited, the DJ played his second RiRi tune of the night, the singer’s new single, “B—- Better Have My Money.” Rihanna didn’t so much as flinch, instinctively diving into a full-on lip synch, complete with hip shimmies and emphatic hand gestures — a true diva-worthy performance. Someone give that girl her M$$.

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