She’s sold 200 million records, had 14 No. 1 hits and designed apparel for the likes of Puma and Manolo Blahnik: It would seem that there’s nothing else left for pop princess Rihanna to conquer. But how about the lucrative world of makeup?
The Barbadian beauty, fashion icon, magazine-cover star and multi-culti goddess just inked a reported $10 million deal to develop a full-scale makeup line, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna, slated to launch in Fall 2017 in partnership with luxury goods conglomerate LVMH.
And the partnership makes total sense, according to experts: Having fronted 19 major magazine covers in 2015 — and having scored No. 1 hits on a record seven consecutive albums — the 28-year-old transcends borders, culture and languages.
“Rihanna has made the kind of music-meets-fashion statements that have literally left everyone in the dust,” says Shirley Halperin, the news director at Billboard and music editor for the Hollywood Reporter. “She is as close as you can get to a guaranteed hit.”
A hit is precisely what LVMH is banking on — and needs. The company is suffering from slowing global sales of its fashions, watches and liquor brands, which range from Fendi to Donna Karan to its flagship line Louis Vuitton. LVMH posted $9.8 billion in first quarter revenue, according to a sales report earlier this month — impressive but below analyst predictions.
But Rihanna — who will reportedly be hands-on in the development and marketing of Fenty — possesses the type of universal recognition that perfectly positions her to lure a wide range of buyers, from wealthy, First World millennials to the developing world’s new middle classes, who are eager to emulate her style.
Depending on its price point, the makeup line, which will be sold at LVMH-owned Sephora, “could serve as a sort of ‘first step’ for buyers” into the world of luxe products offered by companies like LVMH, explains Luca Solca, chief luxury goods analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. This is particularly true for women of color, whom Rihanna has courted with her uncanny ability to blend personal style with global tastes.
RiRi’s decision to wear Chinese designer Guo Pei’s 8-foot-long canary-colored train to last year’s Met Ball, for instance, placed her front-and-center with China’s hundreds of millions of newly affluent consumers. It simultaneously provided Guo Pei with instant exposure to the millions of black women — both in the Americas and across Africa — who worship Rihanna’s every move.
And remember all those magazine covers? From Vogue to Elle to Harper’s Bazaar, each was among the title’s best sellers in 2015 — besting Caucasian megastar rivals like Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss.
“There are stars like Selena Gomez who also have this kind of appeal, but they don’t have Rihanna’s chart success,” Halperin observes. “Rihanna has become [the] sort of icon for whom beauty and fashion now go hand-in-hand with her music.”
Source: New York Post