Rihanna in Loewe and Alaïa was the Super Bowl’s ultimate touchdown
Despite the mesmerising theatrics of her Halftime Show performance at Super Bowl LVII, the mogul’s outfit erred on the side of classic minimalism.
Each Super Bowl Halftime Show is a spectacle where fashion plays a major role. Jennifer Lopez memorably changed into several different Versace looks for her 2020 performance alongside Shakira, while in 2017, Lady Gaga wowed in a mirrored Tom Ford bodysuit that entranced the audience, and the millions watching from home.
The fervour around what Rihanna would wear for her anticipated Super Bowl Halftime Show performance began months before she took to the stage on Sunday, February 12. What would such a feted fashion icon—who has formerly cochaired the Met Gala, launched her own clothing line with LVMH, and made a sport of pulling off some of the most conceptual looks by designers like Comme des Garçons, Giambattista Valli and Guo Pei—going to wear for her buzzed-about return to musical performance?
Taking to the stage in Glendale, Arizona, Rihanna’s outfit was a focal point, even amongst the death-defying theatrics of her set. Between a sea of white hazmat suit-clad dancers, Rihanna stood out in red—custom red. The sheer-effect bodice was designed by Jonathan Anderson of Loewe, based on a creation from his surrealism-influenced spring/summer 2022 collection. (The mind wonders if the look was a subtle nod to Janet Jackson, who was unfairly maligned for a nudity gaffe at the 2004 Super Bowl Halftime Show. The incident has since been the subject of reignited discussions about the misogynistic criticism she was subjected to in the moment.)
Image credit: Getty Images
Outerwear played a big role in the look. The dramatic cape worn over the Barbadian superstar’s outfit was designed by Alaïa, while for footwear, she opted for the coordinating red Salomon sneakers from the brand’s collaboration with MM6 Maison Margiela.
Rihanna has history with both of the aforementioned labels. At the ‘Fashion and the Catholic Imagination’-themed Met Gala in 2018, Maison Margiela designer John Galliano created a priestly ensemble for the performer that channelled the Pope’s instantly recognisable garb. As for Alaïa, Rihanna has frequently donned designs by both the late Azzedine Alaïa and current creative director Pieter Mulier. While pregnant in 2022, she wore a leather hooded gown by Mulier in a similar shade of red, as well as on the cover of US Vogue’s May 2022 issue, where she wore another custom lipstick-red design from the label.
Therefore, the Super Bowl look was one filled with silhouettes and designers the star has favoured over the years, all coming together for a pivotal career moment.
Loewe spring/summer 2022, the prototype for the look worn by Rihanna. Image credit: GoRunway.com
When Rihanna accepted her CFDA ‘Fashion Icon’ award in 2014—in a translucent Adam Selman gown made from thousands of crystals and worn with a strategically placed Monroe-esque white shawl—she famously issued the perfect response to her former detractors: “She can beat me, but she can never beat my outfit.” In fashion stakes, Rihanna remains the victor.