Rihanna attended the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards where she received a much deserved fashion icon award on Tuesday. She showed up at the event in an Adam Selman Swarovski crystal embellished sheer gown that had many jaws on the floor. The only thing stopping us from seeing her lady bits were a thong and a fur scarf – her nipples were completely exposed. While I am not a fan of nudity I thought Rihanna wore her look extremely well and took a lesson on personal branding from the superstar.
The way we speak, conduct ourselves and dress, are important when talking about personal branding. Those are the very first things that people get when they interact with us. Rihanna has always been daring when it comes to her fashion sense. This year alone she has had heads turning with her fashion choices from her Paris Fashion Week looks to the white midriff bearing Stella McCartney dress she wore at the Met Gala which scored her a Vogue cover next to Beyoncé. The important lesson here is that one of the benefits of personal branding which is business with brands, is only possible when your personal brand i.e., your personality, resonates with the brand.
There have been many celebrities who have been in the industry for a long time but have not managed to get any brand associations or endorsement deals. Perhaps one of the main reasons is brands not being able to relate to their personalities. Rihanna on the other hand has had deals such as MAC and Balmain. All these would not have been possible had she not established a bold fashion sense as a key part of her personal branding.
So is it a good or a bad thing that she went to those awards in next to nothing? It is absolutely great! Not only does it give us something to perv over, but it gets her the attention of even more fashion brands and ultimately, partnerships that translate economically. They know that she pushes the envelope and that will get people to not only talk about her and what she is wearing, but also about WHO she is wearing.
P.S.: I read this morning that Rihanna released a perfume which had a raunchy poster which was banned in the UK just yesterday. Yet another lesson – her next-to-nothingness dress at the CFDA Awards went hand-in-hand with the campaign for her perfume. Consistency. Brilliant.