Can you remember the first time you saw Rihanna’s style evolving?
Bevy Smith: Once she got out of that video vixen look of the blonde hair weave– the broke r&b chick look–she kind of stepped out on Good Girl Gone Bad. That was definitely the canvas of her style and stepping into her own on all levels. Style is just as important as talent when you are trying to break out the box.
It wasn’t about the sound initially; it was really when she cut her hair and dyed it black. A long time ago, I dressed her for the Vibe Awards and after that I didn’t see her for a while…maybe 2 years. Then when I did the cover story on her for Paper Magazine, she was a completely different girl. She was more outspoken. When I first met Rihanna, she was really quiet, kind of shy and referred a lot to other people’s opinions. When I interviewed her two years later, that was totally not the case. In the piece she told me that she had the goal of becoming the black Madonna. I think she is definitely well on her way.
In that time, you have to remember everyone was rocking long blonde hair. Think of her competitors during that time–Christina Milian, Teairra Marie, Beyonce–what she did was really bold to go short and black. There was no one doing that.
Derek J: When Rihanna cut her hair, it was at a moment when everybody was in that cookie cutter mode of long hair. If you had a certain skin tone, you had a certain lightness of hair. She cut it and went black. She was the total opposite of what was happening at that moment and it made her stand out.
Miss Lawrence: I was very pleased to see her share herself in the “Umbrella” video. That was one of my favorite videos where she displayed a lot of high fashion. I love her chopped messy bob–she just really delivered a total look for me and it actually worked for her.