PARIS — Gucci has tapped Grammy-award winning singer Rihanna to appear in the label's first ad campaign highlighting its collaboration with the United Nation's Children's Fund, UNICEF.
Rihanna and Frida Giannini, Gucci's creative director, flew to Paris on Thursday for the four-hour shoot with photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.
The Italian fashion house intends the ads, which will break in December magazines, to make a lasting impression. "We have a celebrity, a very famous face, together with the entire organization of UNICEF and Gucci," Giannini said during an interview post-shoot at studios in Paris' 14th arrondissement. "With those three elements together, we want to surprise people, to impact people's hearts."
Giannini, an avid music fan, decided on Rihanna, who shot to fame with the hit single "Umbrella," after she performed at Gucci's UNICEF fund-raiser in New York last February. The event raised $5.5 million.
"So when we decided to dedicate a full ad campaign, more than just creating products, to really come out and show our commitment to UNICEF, we wanted someone with a strong personality," Giannini explained. "I felt a musician and a beautiful woman was the perfect icon for this campaign."
Called "Tattoo Heart," the ads show Rihanna sporting Gucci's special-edition products for UNICEF, which all feature a tattoo-style heart motif and from which 25 percent of sales will be donated to the organization that fights for children's rights globally.
Rihanna, who created her own charity, The Believe Foundation, in 2006 to help children in need of food and medicine, said she was "blown away" by what UNICEF has achieved in Africa. "I wanted to be a part of that," she said.
Add the allure of a luxury label like Gucci and the Barbados-born singer said she didn't need to think twice about saying yes.
"Of course not, who would?" she laughed. "We've come a long way from Miss Bisou to Gucci," she continued, referring to her first fashion campaign for the youth-oriented apparel brand. This year alone she's represented brands from Hennes & Mauritz to Cover Girl. "We have grown a lot in the endorsement world," she said. "It's an honor to represent Gucci."
And the 20-year-old artist's first Gucci buy wasn't by any means average.
"My first Gucci purchase, well my first expensive purchase, was a pair of python shoes with bamboo in the heel," she recalled, adding that they were spoiled when some oil leaked in her suitcase. "You can send them to us," Giannini said. "We'll send them to the factory for repair."
Rihanna confirmed that her own fashion collection is on her agenda. "I love fashion, so it's only natural for me to want to create my own line," she said. "But I want to be very hands-on with it all, and that's something that takes time."
Meanwhile she's hoping to find time for film roles. "It's a world I would like to experience," she said. Giannini had one proviso, "that I can do the costumes," she said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast