Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD Music issue 09/04/2008

Rihanna moves forward on the stage and red carpet.

In the three years since her breakout, chart-topping single “Pon de Replay,” Rihanna (née Robyn Rihanna Fenty) has morphed from baby-faced pop star to edgy songstress without missing a beat — style- or musicwise. The former tomboy embraced her feminine side for her 2006 album, “A Girl Like Me,” with help from Zac Posen frocks, dewy makeup and long, luscious tresses. “I can’t believe it. I never thought I’d be, like, this girly!” she told WWD at the time.

This story first appeared in the September 4, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

But it was the angular asymmetrical bob and bondage-inspired outfits she revealed in last year’s single, “Umbrella” (off her latest record, “Good Girl Gone Bad”), that made the fashion folks take notice. Hair salons started receiving requests for “The Rihanna” (remember “The Rachel?”); Dean and Dan Caten cast her in their spring 2008 runway show, and Marc Jacobs has even named a bag after her.

It’s certainly a long way from her Barbados upbringing, where, as a young girl, she climbed trees with the boys instead of playing house with dolls. The 20-year-old Fashion Rocks alumna currently sports an even more abbreviated, punkish do — all the better with which to accessorize the strapless minidresses, leather leggings and borrowed from-the-boys blazers the singer has donned this summer for performances on “TRL,” at the BET Awards and at the Africa Rising Festival. And fall looks to be just as busy with a duet recording with Mariah Carey to benefi t the charity Stand Up to Cancer, a slot in the Gucci for UNICEF print ad campaign and, of course, her second Fashion Rocks appearance. Just don’t stop the music.

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