(Image via River Island)
So everyone's talking about Rihanna's collaboration with UK retailer River Island, aptly titled Rihanna For River Island, that showed during London Fashion Week. And the reviews have been, um, well, let's not sugarcoat it…scathing. Celebrity-designed clothing in and of itself warrants a side-eye, but I always try to remain objective…somewhat. I mean let's face it, just because you have money, fame and a good sense of style (i.e. a great stylist) doesn't mean that you can bypass the vigorous years of training that most designers go through. And it shows.
For all the hype and the notoriety that celebs bring to their collections, they consistently fail in two areas. Celebrity clothing is expected to be aspirational. The whole point of putting their name on a clothing line is essentially to say "I know you want to be like me. Here's how." But let's be honest, Jennifer Lopez wouldn't be caught dead in her own clothing, let alone the Kardashians. Kim Kardashian, who famously was a victim of "fashion snobbery" when designers wouldn't loan her clothing for a recent Elle photoshoot, never even considered wearing her own line available at Sears. How's that for fashion snobbery. Second, just because I love your style doesn't mean I want to look exactly like you. Yes, I want to borrow some of your style elements and I admire your confidence, but I have to be able to walk down the street. Lady Gaga, during her more tamed Just Dance years, inspired the no-pants look. I will admit, I saw one or two brave souls trying it out in the East Village. However, most people looked at them just like I did, not admirably, but more like 'Huh?'. Gwen Stefani, arguably the most successful celebrity designer that shows at Fashion Week with her L.A.M.B. clothing and accessories line (I'm excluding Jessica Simpson for this reason), is still not a household name and let's not talk about Beyonce.
Rihanna failed on both fronts. With see-through dresses, cheap-o knits and poorly designed denim, it makes me wonder how the co-designer Adam Selman fit in. Did he really approve of this stuff or was he just happy to work with a superstar? For all intents and purposes, she faired only slightly better than Lindsay Lohan. Remember that disaster? I don't want to jump on the bash Rihanna bandwagon. I love her music. But she puts the exclamation point on the whole celeb designer trend. Why do we keep hyping these things up? Will Lauren Conrad for Kohls ever push product like Margiela for H&M? I think not. Let's stop the madness!