As a global superstar who has given us more than a decade of incredible onstage, music video, and red carpet looks, it makes sense that Rihanna has decided to launch a “visual autobiography” rather than a standard tell-all book. But what exactly, you might ask, is a visual autobiography?
Called simply Rihanna, the 504-page collection of images will detail the singer’s life, from her childhood in Barbados to her domination of the music, fashion, and makeup industries. And nowhere is the 31-year-old’s evolution more evident than in terms of beauty and style, so ahead of the book launch on October 19, Savoir Flair is looking back at Rihanna’s astonishing transformation from pop ingenue to undisputed icon.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty burst onto the music scene in 2005 and rebranded as Rihanna, having relocated from Barbados to the US and being signed by Jay-Z’s then record label Def Jam as a teen. The fresh-faced teenager’s fashion sense was a lot cuter and more casual back then – quite the contrast from the powerful style star we’re used to seeing today.
Emblematic of the early aughts when she first came to popularity, she often wore low-slung jeans and chunky accessories on the red carpet. Paired with tousled wavy hair, pastel-toned makeup, and lots of lip gloss, her teenage years showed early signs of her interest in beauty.
After her debut single “Pon de Replay” became a worldwide hit, Rihanna released two albums before her true breakthrough with smash hit single “Umbrella” and album Good Girl Gone Bad in 2007. Gone were the singer’s long locks, replacing her adolescent image with an edgy black pixie haircut and sleek makeup to match. Her outfits on the red carpet took a more sophisticated turn as well.
As Rihanna’s music became increasingly dark and more explicit, the singer switched up her look again, swapping her pixie cut for scarlet locks ahead of the release of her Loud album in 2010. She experimented with various lengths of red hair over the next couple of years, from super short to a bouncy bob to corkscrew curls, often paired with what would become her signature red lip. Her onstage ensembles became sexier and more daring as a result of her new “bad girl” look.
After a brief spell as a blonde, Rihanna went back to her roots over the next few years, rocking a range of raven-haired looks while touring and promoting her Unapologetic album. On stage, the Bajan star continued to push the envelope with fashion-forward outfits and experimental makeup – black and gray lipstick included.
On the red carpet, a different side of the popstar would emerge. This version was more glamorous and, often, more willing to experiment. Her beauty looks tended to be classic, showcasing red lips and sleek updos.
In 2017, Rihanna turned her talents to makeup with the launch of Fenty Beauty, which was a huge success. Promoting the range across the world, the singer acted as Fenty Beauty poster girl in a series of epic looks featuring flawless skin, shimmering highlighters, and metallic lip colors.
Unveiling the visual autobiography in New York earlier this week, Rihanna was at her ultra-glam best, rocking a leopard print Saint Laurent dress and slouchy black leather boots. With a mass of dark waves tumbling over her shoulder, sultry smoky eyes, and berry-hued lips, the multi-talented icon is a far cry from her rosy-cheeked teenage days. And if you ask us? She has never looked better.