Rihanna bigs up Marie Antoinette in her Paris fashion debut

PARIS – “What would Marie Antoinette wear at the gym?”

It’s a question about the French queen that historians may have missed, but not Rihanna.

The singer turned fashion designer said she took the conundrum as the starting point for her debut Paris collection for her Fenty x Puma brand, which showed late Wednesday.

Rihanna’s answer was lots of slinky lingerie, slip dresses, bodices and pearls. Not forgetting fans, of course, worn at the hip.

The Barbadian star gave the 18th-century a long-awaited streetwear makeover, sending her models to the ball in an aristocratic mansion close to the Champs-Elysees in macaron-colored hoodies.

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Absolute monarchy has never looked so street.

Her collection’s classy pale pink, pistachio, caramel and chocolate hues looked like they came from a box of one of Paris’ favorite sweet bite-sized fancies.

Which seemed all the more appropriate given Marie Antoinette was guillotined during the French Revolution for allegedly urging her starving people to eat cake.

Queen of Sheba

Though the pearl lip piercings worn by three of the models might make eating post-gym patisseries a bit tricky.

Rihanna left her own lips well alone. And her entrance at the end of the show through a haze of chandeliers in a pale pink ballgown with a Puma fan on a string of pearls, was worthy of the Queen of Sheba herself.

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There was no doubting that this was a major step up from the star’s first collection shown last year in New York, which was strictly sportwear and never strayed from black and white.

Rihanna said later that a visit to the Palace of Versailles near Paris where Marie Antoinette lived before the unfortunate business with the revolting lower orders was her principal inspiration for the show.

“We shot a Dior campaign there. I was blown away to be in the halls and the rooms that Marie Antoinette roamed through. Those things stay with you,” she told Vogue.

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The star had earlier teased the media and her millions of fans with seeming sneak preview images of her collection on Instagram which included her friend supermodel Gigi Hadid sprinting in a pair of stiletto sneakers.

As it turned out, neither the white Puma stilettos nor the outfit Hadid was wearing made it to the runway.

Rihanna has followed rapper Kanye West into the fashion world as a designer, and had Wednesday’s show streamed live on the rapper Jay-Z’s Tidal platform. — AFP