During the 1980s and 1990s the title "supermodel" was assigned to the likes of Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, and Cindy Crawford. But times are changing, and the title, for some people, is no longer exclusive to those who walk the runways every season. Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing says Rihanna is to today's generation what supermodels, who were treated like celebrities, were 30 or 40 years ago.
Supermodels back in those days were household names, and just like celebrities, they commanded high-paying gigs, both which were unheard of before. The elite group of women appeared in movies, TV, music videos, and talk shows, making them even more famous and not just a nameless face on the runway. To some, they were the symbol of wealth and luxury.
Rousteing told the Independent that "people are looking at Rihanna like they were looking at Naomi Campbell or Claudia,” adding that "nobody wants to be a model, everybody wants to be a singer."
It’s no secret that Rousteing is a big fan of RiRi, and vice versa. Rousteing has said that he considers the singer a muse, and Rihanna even modeled in Balmain's spring 2014 ad campaign. “I think having Rihanna in the campaign is like having Cindy Crawford or Christy Turlington, but for my generation" Rousteing told the Independent about having Rihanna in the advertisement.
But Rousteing isn't alone; other designers and fashion houses have expressed their admiration for Rihanna as well. Earlier this year, Tom Ford said that Rihanna's Instagram posts are more influential than what fashion critics have to say. And given that the singer has become a front-row fixture at fashion shows, there are fashion labels clearly willing to pay nearly $100,000 to get her to attend their shows.
The power of RiRi.