Breaking down my favourite Rihanna looks through the lens of expressionism

The businesswoman, singer, and soon-to-be mother is a fashion icon

Alexa breaks down her favourite Rihanna moments.

Whether you’re a fashion connoisseur or not, most of us are aware of Rihanna’s most iconic photoshoots and red-carpet looks. She is a fashion icon, after all.

Rihanna consistently turns heads at appearances. The singer, businesswoman, and soon-to-be mother adopts a diverse and multicultural approach to fashion. She’s appeared at events boldly representing designers from all over the globe.

Much like in her music, Rihanna’s no stranger to showing her daring side in how she dresses, especially at notable public events like the Met Gala and the Grammy’s.

Throughout my time studying theatre, I’ve learned the importance of expressionism. Expressionism is an international art movement that took place between 1905 and 1925, occurring in disciplines like performance art. Expressionism seeks to represent the world through feeling, and strongly applies to how we dress—and provides insight into Rihanna’s red-carpet appearances.

Let’s analyze some of my favourite Rihanna looks through the lens of expressionism.

My favourite of Rihanna’s red-carpet looks is the fit from the 2013 Grammy’s, when she embodied the word audacious better than anyone. She wore a fiery-red chiffon gown designed by the late North-African Born designer Azzedine AlaÏa.

Alaïa has styled various other celebrities, including Michelle Obama and Lady Gaga.

In this look, I’d argue Rihanna takes bold to another level, exuding an undeniable prowess. Her dress expresses a sense of strength and assertiveness, reinforced by a signature red lip. Quoting Gaga from the 2021 film House of Gucci, I’d say “Bravo!” to this piece.


Another noteworthy Grammy Appearance is Rihanna’s timeless 2012 look. Wearing a backless silk plunge neck gown co-designed with Italian designer Giorgio Armani, Rihanna emulates the femme fatal trope in stark contrast to the AlaÏa gown she wore in 2013.

This look exudes power. It highlights Rihanna’s fierceness, and everything about this appearance feels seductive and classic. Her dress encapsulates simplicity and expresses sophistication. In many ways, the dress reminds me of a signature Bond girl outfit.    

Rihanna continues to raise the bar for couture-lovers in her 2015 Met Gala appearance.

The singer wore an “imperial-yellow” cape with fur trimming. One of my favourite parts of the outfit is that it was hand-crafted by Chinese designer Guo Pei. Pei’s design is elegant and undeniably regal.

I think her attire heavily emulates haute couture and class while paying homage to Chinese culture and history.

Rihanna’s look is energetic and exciting. Wearing a train that long suggests major self-assurance, and I love how dramatic it is.

Evidently, the singer is dauntless and wears each look effortlessly—regardless of how many boundaries she pushes. In a recent photoshoot, Rihanna brought dynamism to a classic, vintage look. 

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A post shared by Miles Diggs (@diggzy)

On Jan. 31, photographer Miles Diggs broke the internet after posting a shoot announcing the singer’s pregnancy with rapper A$AP Rocky.

In the photos, Rihanna is wearing a pink puffer from Chanel’s 1996 Fall collection accompanied by distressed jeans and jewel-encrusted costume jewelry by Chanel.

The vintage puffer frames her figure while showing her bare baby bump—in typical effortless fashion.

The vibrancy of the puffer blurs the lines between a relaxed street-style vibe and courageousness, and the shoot differs from Rihanna’s other appearances because of the retro touches.

Rihanna’s looks speak strongly to her character —she’s bold and always makes a statement. Undoubtably, her fashion choices mirror her confidence and sophistication.

One thing’s for sure: Rihanna and ASAP’s baby might be the best-dressed child to walk this earth.

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