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February 19, 2013  | by: Kelly Hanelt
Twitter (@LeanneWoodfull)

Twitter (@LeanneWoodfull)


Rihanna’s always had a thick skin. When people criticized her renewed relationship with Chris Brown, she promptly released a duet with him telling nosy haters exactly where to stick it. She’s made a reputation off of not giving an eff, and she’s made millions from it. Rihanna = honey badger of Hollywood.

Though it should be noted that criticism of the star is not all-encompassing. Her scandalous personal life and decision to never wear a bra? Fair game. But when was the last time anyone criticized Rihanna’s music? The reason why she is so sustainable in Hollywood is that despite her questionable lifestyle choices, Rihanna is creatively infallible. Or, should I say: was creatively infallible. The world will forever more remember Saturday night, at the debut of her new line for UK chain River Island, because that is the night that everything changed.

“Porny,” “hideous,” “unsurprisingly slutty yet tiresomely predictable.” These were just a few of the choice adjectives critics had for the clothing line, which mainly consisted of crop-tops, skirts with thigh-high slits, and a lot of mesh. Tom Sykes, of the Daily Beast, summed up his interpretation of the line as such:

Twitter (@idollmag)

Twitter (@idollmag)

“If you were a guy hoping for a one night stand and a girl started chatting to you in a bar wearing anything from the Rihanna for River Island collection, you would feel fair confident you’d be getting lucky. The only lingering uncertainty in your mind would be whether or not she would take a credit card.”

Ouch. Should we send Rihanna some Aloe Vera to treat that burn? But more importantly – does this line mark the end of Rihanna’s creative genius?

Simply put, no. While some of the milder criticisms ring true – the clothes are skimpy, too tropical for Britain, and far from the most exciting thing to come out of London Fashion Week – I’d argue that this isn’t news to Rihanna. She was just presenting another celebrity collaboration, and not even with one of the best-known brands in Britain. She wasn’t trying to knock Tom Ford off the runway, she was designing for the woman she knows best – herself.

Watching the entire runway show below (it’s only 10 minutes), try and tell me that there is not one design Rihanna wouldn’t wear herself. Sure they’re skimpy, a little skanky, and altogether crude… but so is she. Now try and tell me that there aren’t thousands of women worldwide that look to Rihanna’s risqué outfits for a little take-charge inspiration. That’s right. You can’t.

Rihanna certainly provided highbrow critics with a lot of fodder with her new River Island collab. Let them have their cake. Let them eat it (Marie Antionette style.) But when considering A) this is Rihanna we’re talking about (cough, cough, honey badger), and B) she’s designing for the masses, not the minority, it is difficult to interpret her collection as anything less than a success.

Are you eager to get your Ri-ri on in one of her new designs? Or are you going to sit this one out?

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