“I think I’d want best dressed, but I wasn’t there yet in terms of style,” said Rihanna at the launch of her school-friendly Fenty U collection at Bloomingdale’s last week, upon being asked which senior-year superlative she’d have wanted to receive. And while the fashion icon looked the part that day in a corseted plaid jacket, slouchy track trousers, and diamonds, she admitted that “in high school, I stayed to myself. I was a loner.” (Hard to believe, considering the queue that took over the second and fourth floors of the New York retail institution to catch a glimpse of her, and the marching band that heralded her arrival.)
Since her Barbados student days, Rihanna has found ways to embrace her individuality. Because her school required uniforms, “you would try to express yourself any way you could,” she said. "[I’d] push it with an earring. You’re not allowed to wear huge earrings. I would try to push it with my hair with extensions and a little color. I got sent home a couple of times for doing that.” Her favorite accessory, though, was the uniform's belt: "It was not the cutest belt—it was in Barbados colors, blue and yellow stripes—[but] you could [define] your waist. Girls would constantly be adjusting their belt all day long!” She also relied on the go-to scandalous style tip of generations of uniformed schoolgirls: “My hem,” she said with a laugh. “I would take it up little by little so no one would notice.”
As for what’s on her current fashion wish list, Rihanna, who has already sported a coveted item from the Spring 2018 runways, the “Yeti” boots from Saint Laurent—“They’re amazing!”—has her eye on the entire Céline and Balenciaga collections, as well as one specific Saint Laurent outfit. “I’m really in love with the oversized pink look,” she says. “It was like a bubble and tiny skirt, and the skirt went into a point in the front and looked like she was wearing the top of her dress up. It was like a fuchsia cloud, but it was so beautiful to me because it’s so wrong.” And while it certainly wouldn’t be an easy look to pull off, that’s exactly what Rihanna’s style is about. “I love that you have to work to wear your outfit,” she explains. "You have to be committed.” Spoken like a true member of the fashion honor roll.