Rihanna was once one pop princess among many, but she’s now evolved into a true diva and style icon.
Like predecessors such as Beyonce and Madonna, Rihanna has mastered the art of transformation, cultivating multiple public images that enhance her celebrity mystique.
A living example of art imitating life—or rather, fashion imitating life—Rihanna set major style trends in 2009 with her album Rated R, which chronicled her rebellious recovery from a year marred by violence and media scrutiny. She inspired an edgy new aesthetic for women around the globe with black, cropped hair and smokey eyes, while also channeling the aggressive bravado of Grace Jones in military gear, chainmail and bondage wear.
Rihanna has reinvented herself most recently as a phoenix rising from the ashes with long, fiery ringlets. This look is more West Indian dance hall vixen-meets-glamorous Vargas pin-up, and marks a refreshing departure from the queen of darkness she’d seemingly become.