A bad gal becomes a queen
“I wanted to show that she is not just a villain to be despised or a muse to be channeled,” says Carine. “She is neither, actually. She is a prototype for contemporary fame, body, beauty, celebrity, and femininity. Everything done by her and to her has influenced society’s concept of womanhood, for better or worse.” Looking at the life and times of Marie Antoinette, we begin to see parallels between her and the female celebrities of today. Who besides our modern pop stars are followed with more obsession and desire? Rihanna is beloved while Marie Antoinette was not, but she shares with the Queen an unapologetic attitude that inspires and fascinates. She says what she wants, smokes what she wants, and wears what she wants, making her an icon of authenticity in an era of calculated, pre-baked fame.
For our cover, Carine and Terry Richardson reimagined Rihanna as a modern-day Marie Antoinette. And there couldn’t be anyone more fit for this role of the disparaged yet deeply compelling Queen. “In this issue, I wanted to capture that sense of attraction and repulsion: the fantasy of glamour but also the poison and prison of femininity and society,” Carine explains. “The magazine is crafted around key elements of her [Marie Antoinette’s] life—her exuberant sense of fashion, her elaborate hairdos, her intense sexuality—almost like a modern biography through fashion imagery. And on the cover is Rihanna, who shares with Marie Antoinette an air of royalty that I, and the world it seems, find intoxicating.”
Photograph Terry Richardson
Fashion Carine Roitfeld
Words Ray Siegel