Rihanna accepted the Fashion Icon of the Year award at the Annual Council of Fashion Designers of America ceremony, honoring the most stylish leaders in the fashion industry. She’s earned it, taking more risqué risks than most celebs would dare. And she does it with style and grace.
When Rihanna first came out with the more revealing, sexually appealing look, I couldn’t help but think it was another marketing ploy, or a young girl ‘acting out’ a la Christina and Britney. But surprisingly, she has made the look her own, and she seems to take full ownership for her sexuality where as other celebs look like little girls in grown up makeup.
For the CFDAs, Rihanna’s resemblance to Josephine Baker, my favorite entertainer of all time, was uncanny. Baker, as we all know, broke boundaries of race, sexuality and feminism with her daring and sensual performances, many times in the nude. That was the 1920s. So I wonder why, in 2014, there is such a hoopla over Rihanna’s choice of dress, which dares(!) to show her breasts. The dress was fabulous, she wore it well, and exuded the confidence that the dress commands. Still she covered, the media cropped.
Why are we still so pressed about the breast? I, for one, am tired of clutching my pearls in the name of ladyhood. I wish we could get off the Puritan Pedestal and just appreciate the bare beauty of our sisters.
In other awards news, I was happy to see Bethann Hardison honored with the Eleanor Lambert Founder’s Award. Ms. Hardison was a pioneer in getting more Black women on the runway and in the magazines, an issue that still permeates the fashion industry to this day. She developed Vogue Italia’s Black Issue (why can’t we have that here?) Here she is, flanked by Liya, Chanel, Iman and Joan.