NEW YORK — Call it lucky seven: Roughly 1,000 people showed up Monday at Macy’s in Brooklyn to help launch Rihanna’s seventh fragrance, RiRi by Rihanna. Her personal appearance helped generate more than $46,000 in sales — and lots of NYPD officers trying to control a frenzied, engaged crowd dancing to Rihanna tunes spun by DJ Reg West before, during and after the event.
Clad in a retro-inspired pink Vivienne Westwood minidress and sky-high pink Christian Louboutin stilettos, Rihanna — despite starting the personal appearance an hour late — turned on the charm and easily handled the crowd. The first 400 people in line were able to purchase a $116 gift set containing three sizes of the scent, which entitled them to a photo-op with the singer. Looking on proudly was her grandfather, Lionel Braithwaite, who lives near the store in Brooklyn.
“God is great and I love to make new things,” the 27-year-old entertainer told WWD backstage before the event, noting that it’s been 10 years since her first album, “Music of the Sun,” was released. “In fragrance, there’s always something new; it’s always changing. I love finding all the ways I can put scent notes together to change them. It’s been a pleasure to find a new way to create things outside of music. When I did my first fragrance, I was like ‘fingers crossed — I hope people believe I know what I’m doing, because I spent so much time on this.’ I’m lucky, and I’m grateful for their success, so I guess we’ll take it one step at a time from here.”
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The scent is just one in a series of nonmusical projects Rihanna has on tap — although, after selling more than 54 million albums and 210 million digital tracks, she’s certainly no slouch in that department. She has served as spokeswoman for MAC Cosmetics and created her own RiRi Woo Viva Glam lipstick for charity; has launched two capsule collections with Giorgio Armani; has created four River Island collections; is creative director for Puma, and is the new face of Dior’s Secret Garden campaign. In July, she added contributing creative director and Punk & Poet brand ambassador for Stance to that list.
The MAC partnership, in particular, has whetted her appetite for all things beauty. “I would love to do a makeup line,” she said. “It’s a part of my life, it’s a part of my career, it’s part of every video, every visual, every red carpet, so it’s something I’ve gotten to know quite well. I ask a lot of questions and I spend a lot of time in the makeup stores.”
She’s also enjoying designing. She is adding to it “little by little,” she said. “Right now, we’re doing Puma, which is a big project — our first collection is looking like it’s going to be [coming out] next fall.”
How does she find time for all of this? “I don’t know how we do it. I try to spend as much time [as I can] on each project — each project is like a child to me,” she said. “I have to nurture each of them and make sure they get the right attention.”
How would she equate fragrance creation to songwriting? “Well, they’re definitely different notes, different ingredients go into each fragrance. Each song tells a different story, and each song tells a different story. And this one, RiRi, is really playful, very fun, very feminine, very girly and flirty. I wanted something for the young girls to get excited about. It’s pink, it’s exciting, it’s fun. This part of it — being able to touch the fans and being able to shop my fragrance with them — it’s important. It’s important to let them know that I stand behind it, this isn’t just something I’m throwing on the counter. It’s something I believe in and getting to see it one on one and getting their feedback right away is great. The craziest moment I had [at a public appearance] was a bunch of paparazzi tell me I smelled great. That’s when I knew my samples were right for my first fragrance, Rebel F’leur. I was like, ‘oh my gosh, they love it! Men love it!’ That’s what you want as a woman.”
RiRi, named for her nickname, is, she believes, “perfect for a girls’ night out.” The juice, which Rihanna created with Fragrance Resources, opens with passionfruit extract, rum absolute, sparkling cassis and Italian mandarin; has a heart of Japanese honeysuckle, orange blossom, exotic jasmine and pink freesia, and a drydown of Madagascar vanilla, warm skin musk and Indonesian sandalwood.
Eau de parfum in four sizes — a 0.2 rollerball, $20; a 1 oz. for $36; 1.7 oz for $50, and 3.4 oz. for $60 — are being sold. The juice is tinted a bright pink, one of the entertainer’s favorite colors. (Macy’s even had a pink carpet for the star and pink lightbulbs in the area carved out for the personal appearance.)
The scent will be sold in 1,800 doors, including Macy’s, macys.com, Perfumania, perfumania.com and Stage stores.
Rihanna is also continuing to add to her filmography, noting that she’s in discussions for several projects that are “too early to mention.” Her credits include 2012’s “Battleship,” 2013’s “This Is the End,” 2014’s “Annie” and this year’s “Home.” She directed a video short for her song “B—h Better Have My Money,” and executive produced 2013’s “Styled to Rock” under her legal name, Robyn Rihanna Fenty.