Fashion Muse

Rihanna Rewrites the Rulebook on Maternity Fashion

Zara Osako talks us through some of the most inventive and unique looks from the star's pregnancy so far

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Business woman and R&B star, Rihanna, has always been on top of the fashion game ever since she rose to fame in the noughties and she has been serving looks ever since. When Rihanna announced her pregnancy earlier this year, fans speculated as to whether we would still have the pleasure of her ground-breaking and daring looks on the red carpet this year, or if she would lay low and enjoy her pregnancy. Thankfully for our fashion needs, she opted for the former, and we have been blessed with an array of breathtakingly unconventional maternity looks. From lingerie, to low waist, the hiphop star has refused to sacrifice her fashion icon title to her pregnancy.

Arguably, the most iconic of Rihanna’s pregnancy looks was seen during Paris Fashion Week at the Dior AW22 show, where she paired a sheer, black slip dress with black knee-high vinyl boots. Across her shoulders, draped a black leather trench, and accessories included chunky silver chains. Vogue has branded this Rihanna’s “most sensational maternity look to date”; a pretty incontestable statement, if you ask me.

Low-waisted trousers have been a running theme in Rihanna’s recent fits. The Gucci fashion show at Milan Fashion Week saw Rihanna sitting front row in a pair of black satin trousers embroidered with a red dragon down one leg. For anyone else, this garment would have been the standout of the outfit, but for Rihanna, of course, it’s understated. She elevated the look with a light purple fur coat and gold metal headdress. Across her baby bump, dangled another chunky silver chain necklace. Understandably, dad-to-be A$AP Rocky decided to keep his look low-key in all black on this occasion, not to distract from the queen herself.

In honour of the Y2K revival trend, Rihanna went back to her noughties routes for another of her stunning maternity looks. Between the tie front cropped baby doll top and her kaleidoscopic, leopard print, denim patch worked, fur-trimmed coat (stay with me, here), we didn’t know where to look. Paired with her blue-washed baggy denim jeans, Rihanna was no stranger to double denim. Of course, keeping in theme, she made sure to tie in a signature gold chain across her midriff. It was a look so daring, it could have only worked on the one and only bad gal.

13 February saw the annual Superbowl, and with it another iconic RiRi fit. Representing her team, Rihanna dressed for the occasion in the Los Angeles Rams’ well-recognised blue and yellow tones. To celebrate their win, Rihanna co-ordinated a blue sheer mesh shirt with a lacy blue bralette, complimented by a blue and white striped head-scarf, and a yellow fur trimmed bomber jacket.

Possibly my favourite of Rihanna’s maternity looks to date was worn on a Parisian night out, in which she chose an aqua blue, skin-tight jumpsuit.The garment featured an asymmetric neckline and a carefully cut-out side which elegantly flattered her baby bump. Keeping in theme, her Instagram followers saw matching blue sunglasses and green toned heels. To keep it casual, she layered the fit with a brown hoodie and khaki trench.

Of course, these looks are far from your usual maternity jean and jumper combo; a coordination that I can only imagine ticks all the boxes during a pregnancy. But it is promising to see Rihanna rightfully taking such pride in her pregnancy and body. For someone who has been so publicly scrutinised throughout her career for her appearance, it is empowering to see how she embraces this chapter of her life and her body, despite the inevitable criticism that comes with it. Loved or loathed, it is undeniable that even when baring another human, Rihanna still manages to maintain her iconic fashion essence; impressive.

Unavoidably, not all of her looks have been met with such regard. Whilst most of us eagerly await the next combination of mismatched colours and prints, some followers relish in shaming a woman for enjoying her body and it's achievements. The patriarchal-rooted expectation for pregnant women to hide away in shapeless, baggy outfits for nine-months is not a new narrative, by any means. The idea that pregnancy, and then motherhood, must suppress a woman’s expression is outdated, yet unfortunately still widely felt. Pregnant or not, women are constantly shamed and policed for their clothing choices. However, celebrities like Rihanna are promising glimpses of hope, not only for women but for fashion as a whole. Disobeying societal expectations for the way we dress is needed now more than ever, and we need more representation of it. And who better to show us how it’s done than Rihanna.

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