Rihanna—what can't the woman pull off? Her sartorial power is so great, so unapologetic in its outrageousness, she can make being nearly nude (you know, except for a mesh encasing made of something like 200,000-plus Swarovski crystals) the most glamorous look ever. So when you factor in actual clothing, you know to expect the wildly unexpected.
A leather jacket isn't just a leather jacket, but a cape draped over a Princess Diana tee with cut-offs and denim chaps. She isn't going to simply slip on a floral-print dress and call it a day. No, Rihanna's going to layer it over a gold chain harness and style it with giant hoops and platform brogues. And for a night out? Any one of fall's transitional jackets won't cut it. In Rihanna's world, a cool breeze is the perfect excuse to break out a giant fur heart-shaped Saint Laurent cape, one of the most memorable looks from Hedi Slimane's final collection for the brand.
All of this only serves as proof that Rihanna can take any look—the trickiest, the most intimidating, the seemingly most unwearable—and make it her own. Thus, we present a runway-to-Rihanna-way study: a side-by-side comparison of her "real-world" application of fashion's greatest hits.
1. Saint Laurent's Fur Heart-Shaped Cape
Ordinarily, a giant heart-shaped cape (with a hefty price tag of $15,500) would warrant a special occasion, but for Rihanna, it was just another night out, NBD. She gave the incredibly luxe furry coat streetwear appeal with a baseball cap, denim cut-offs, and lace-up Stuart Weitzman sandals.
2. Gucci's Lace Dress
Who needs a lining when you have a body like Rihanna? She shamelessly bared it all, and with contrasting underwear, no less (because Rihanna is not known for her subtlety). Instead of Alessandro Michele's preppy-chic take, RiRi went for an intriguing blend of sporty and futuristic with a silver foil purse and lace-up boots.
3. Vetements' "Sexual Fantasties" Set
Some labels are good, some are bad. In this case, it's sexy—but it requires plenty of bad-gal attitude and a hip-out pose to pull off.
4. Vetements' Outsized Leather Jacket
A doubled-leather outfit is outrageous enough as it is, but it becomes even more so when it includes an oversized linebacker-like jacket. Of course RiRi would take the most editorial piece and pair it in her own uniquely out-there way: draped over an oversized Princess Diana tee with micro denim cut-offs and denim chap boots from her Manolo Blahnik collection.
5. Vetements's Yellow Floral-Print Dress
OK, so Rihanna's version isn't all that different from the runway's, but the tightly wound scarf and her black shin-grazing boots perfectly reflect her girlier, softer side without compromising her trademark edge.
6. Fenty x Puma's Boxer Shorts
Taken out of (runway) context, these boxer shorts, to an ordinary human, would be worn as gymwear or as PJs. But since this is a product of Rihanna's creatively charged imagination, she would, of course, find a creative way to wear them out in public, like with an oversized striped Vetements shirt pulled down to expose both shoulders and unbuttoned to reveal her abs. Styled with elevated pieces, like a strand of diamonds, a darling LV bag, and embellished Giusppe Zanotti sandals, and it becomes a perfectly acceptable night-out outfit.
7. Miu Miu's Fur Coat and Menswear-Inspired Separates
It's a look ripped from the runway, but upon closer inspection, there are touches of Rihanna's personality, like how the shirt is unbuttoned to create a plunging neckline, or the layered stack of necklaces (versus a single strand of pearls), and two matching anklets (wrapped around each leg) to bring out the bling on the embellished pumps.
8. Maison Margiela's Track Pants
Margiela's creative director John Galliano's looks are notoriously hard to come by. Yet, there's Rihanna, casual in her jet-setting ensemble. The outfit? She pairs a tiered-sleeve graphic Margiela sweatshirt with sporty track pants that she styled with round sunnies and sequined Manolo pumps.
9. Rosie Assoulin's Cut-Out Bubblegum-Pink Dress
So sweet is this look that we can't fault Rihanna for not wanting to alter too much of it. She picked on the aqua blue ties and color-coordinated it with strappy Stuart Weitzman sandals.
10. Raf Simons's Ovesized Men's Puffer Jacket
Is it a puffer or a sleeping bag? Rihanna treated her comically oversized Raf Simons puffer (the fact that it's men's makes it extra oversized) like a cocoon and styled it with a baseball cap, hoops, and bright yellow lace-up stilettos (for a sexy kick).
11. Adam Selman's Floral-Print Dress
The runway: A pretty floral dress with lace-up espadrilles. Rihanna's way: The same dress over a delicate gold chain harness (or is that a bra?) with giant hoops, a choker, a chain-strap yellow purse in her grip, and platform Stella McCartney brogues.