As the 'Ocean’s 8' continent-hopping fashion show (sorry promo tour) continued last night in London, Rihanna took to the red carpet in a liquid gold dress by Poiret. The multi-hyphenate business woman’s perfectly positioned neckline revealed a new inking. It read, ‘Never a failure, Always a lesson’. Deep, right? Yet, not quite as deep as the connection Rihanna has with her dress’ designer.
After 90-years of lying dormant, Poiret relaunched this spring with a new designer, Yiqing Yin, at the helm. Nearly a century ago, this iconic label had a similar impact on the sartorial world to Rihanna has now.
Rihanna's freedom with fashion is heavily indebted to Poiret. He liberated the body from the petticoat and corset (in 1903 and 1906 respectively) and championed more comfortable silhouettes, like the 'lampshade' tunic and 'harem' trousers. He promoted a modern corporealism by galvanizing the Renaissance ideal of an 'S' shaped curve by projecting a fluid form that accentuates the bottom and the breasts. He took a pair of shears to the Western paradigm of fashion and tugged on references from the world over - looking at Middle Eastern, Greek, Japanese and North African traditional dress. Likewise, Rihanna has never been shy of promoting global couturiers, commonly wearing obscure Chinese and eastern European labels. As Poiret looked to free the form, the singer has freely expressed herself in clothes that advocate comfort, like sportswear and sneakers.
After working for the father of haute couture Charles Frederick Worth, Poiret founded his own fashion house in 1903 at 5 Rue Auber. Within a matter of a few years, he was already invoking modern day marketing techniques - launching a perfume and cosmetics arm and an interiors design wing manned by his daughter, Martine. Like, Rihanna with Fenty - a clothing, footwear, lingerie and beauty business that disrupts every market it touches and inspires a thousand copy-cat labels - Poiret was able to turn himself into 360 lifestyle brand catering to all the needs of his fans.
Like Rihanna, Poiret used the stage as a runway. While the soigné singer twirls for cameras on the red carpet in the latest designs by the greatest design talent, Poiret dressed the Ballet Russes in his Avante-Garde imaginations. Known for extravagance and barrier-breaking, the two have so much more in common than this Ocean’s 8 premier.