Baby aside, the singer has positioned herself as the mother of contemporary pop culture
There comes a time in many celebrities’ lives when they have to let the public know that they’ve created another miniature celebrity. The act of this revelation is as intimate as it is strategic, giving us a glimpse into the inner lives of the most inaccessible people on earth. when it happens Rihanna, however, the moment goes beyond likes, shares or column fodder, and becomes an instant cultural milestone. Yesterday the singer and A$AP Rocky announced that they were several months with a series of “in vacations” images taken by photographer Diggzy in Harlem. And for now, that’s the only thing that matters. She is the only person in the world.
Ever since Demi Moore wore her distended belly on the cover of vanity lounge in 1991, images of pregnant celebrities sparked a frenzy. In recent memory, the pipeline of pregnant-to-viral posts has been shaped by Beyoncé, Kylie Jenner, Cardi B and Nicki Minaj, who racked up some of Instagram’s most-liked photos in their respective years. The process something like this usually happens: indulge yourself in public wearing ridiculously bulky outerwear, vehemently deny you’re waiting, and once the timeline smells blood, bingo! It’s time to hire a world famous photographer, choose some sort of art historical reference, probably buy a veil or a flower crown, and cover all your sore spots in Greek cloth. Think immaculate conception, but in an Instagram cafe in Shoreditch. And the formula became so formulaic that Lil Nas X parodied the genre as part of his Montero launch.
Rihanna, of course, did things a little differently. At some point over the past week, she chose to step onto the deserted, snowy streets of New York City and let the cold wind blow over her coat flaps, revealing a bejeweled baby bump underneath. It wasn’t to buck the pregnancy portrait trend, however, she simply turned the conceptual Virgin Madonna trope into something, quite literally, street level. In fact, it was all referring to (the real) Madonna like a prayer album cover, hands tucked into the pockets of low-rise jeans, belly covered only with a chain of costume jewelry on a long pearl necklace. And while the overall vibe leans towards Diggzy’s understated paparazzi-style photography, it was no less calculated than any of its pregnant predecessors.
Other Experts Read Anna Wintour’s Early Runes vogue cover on set – this legendary photo of a pregnant Michaela Bercu, windswept and beaming in the street, wearing a double-sided Christian Lacroix top adorned with a jeweled cross. It’s like Rhianna was a nod to fashion itself, then emphasizing its ability to reshape the institution in its own image. It was, after all, one of those wildfire moments where clothing collides with pop culture to create canon. To mark the occasion, Rihanna wore a long pink puffer jacket from Karl Lagerfeld’s AW96 collection over floor-skimming ripped jeans that had been spliced under her knife-point stiletto heels. A$AP Rocky, meanwhile, wore leather pants by British-Caribbean designer Maximilian (who designed several custom looks for Rih), a Carhartt denim jacket and a varsity hoodie.
Last year, writer (and oracle) Durga Chew-Bose wrote, “Isn’t it true that with every new outfit, Rihanna erects a monument, sends out a flare, and lights up group texts? She gives denim an afterthought, brings back the ultra-thin heel and reworks the hat concept. She has a perfect command of Chanel fur trim and pearls when she goes to the store. She can perform in front of her audience nothing more than ripped cuts and the color pink. Although these words were written in the September issue of Dazed, they are almost prophetic in hindsight. And Rhianna’s impact is so huge that according to data from Love the Sales, an online fashion aggregator, searches for “pink padded coats” increased 200% within an hour of posting the photos, while those of “ripped blue jeans” increased. by 175 percent.
Rihanna may have rewritten the rules of the big bump reveal, but sit’s also reaffirmed itself as the mother of contemporary pop culture – knowingly playing with gender, fashion and celebrity by turning the cringe into something effortlessly cool. Perfect, beautiful, delicate even. Or maybe it’s just an elaborate album reveal? I think people would let her go…