Rihanna made history by becoming the first black woman to appear on the cover of British Vogue‘s September issue. Like the publication’s U.S. edition, the September issue is the most prestigious edition of the fashion magazine.
Rihanna shared her cover photo on Instagram. She’s wearing a hot pink Prada dress, Savage x Fenty gloves, a flower headdress and thin, drawn-on eyebrows a la Marlene Dietrich. The “Wild Thoughts” singer also posted photos from inside the issue, in which she dons different oversized floral headpieces.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful, styled the cover and photo shoot, and Nick Knight served as photographer. Enninful wrote in his editor’s letter that he knew he wanted the singer on the cover for the magazine’s September issue.
“I always knew it had to be Rihanna,” he wrote. “A fearless music-industry icon and businesswoman, when it comes to that potent mix of fashion and celebrity, nobody does it quite like her. No matter how haute the styling goes, or experimental the mood, you never lose her in the imagery. She is always Rihanna. There’s a lesson for us all in that. Whichever way you choose to dress the new season, take a leaf out of her book and be yourself.”
Enninful wrote that the two talked about diversity and Rihanna’s life as a diva for the accompanying profile.
British Vogue’s September issue hits newsstands today.
Last week, model Anok Yai made history at Prada‘s Fall 2018 show during Milan Fashion Week.
The 19-year-old became the second black model to ever open a Prada show. The first was Naomi Campbell back in 1997. Yes, it’s been over two decades since a woman of color opened a Prada runway.
Anok took to Instagram to thank Miuccia Prada, along with her team, for the opportunity, writing, “Can’t believe I’m the first black woman to open for Prada since queen @iamnaomicampbell, forever grateful.”
The model’s monumental runway walk is especially incredible as she was just discovered last fall while attending Howard University’s homecoming. Weeks later, she signed with Next Models. And just one month ago, she made her runway debut at Prada’s Menswear Fall 2018 show.
Of course, the fact that Prada hasn’t cast a woman of color to open its show in over two decades is problematic in itself. In the past, the brand has come under scrutiny for its lack of diversity both on the runway and in its campaigns. Hopefully, Anok opening the Fall 2018 show is an indication the Italian fashion house is headed in the right direction when it comes to diversity.
Extremely slowly, but surely, more and more brands are recognizing the importance of casting diverse runways. This season’s Fall 2018 shows at New York Fashion Week marked the most racially diverse of all time—with women of color accounting for 37.3% of all castings. Still, there’s a lot of work to be done.
Prada, a label known for rarely casting models of color, has selected a black model for a new print campaign. For first time in 19 years, a woman of African decent will be a major face of the luxury fashion brand in a Fall/Winter 2013 advertisement.
Malaika Firth, a bi-racial black woman who is half Kenyan and British, was born in the Kenyan city of Mombasa and raised in the United Kingdom. The 19-year-old, who also boasts Ugandan, Swiss, and Seychellois ancestry, appears in the latest Prada seasonal ad series with 44-year-old supermodel Christy Turlington among other faces.
Fellow supermodel Naomi Campbell was the last black woman to be featured in a Prada ad campaign in 1994.
Firth told The Telegraph that she is“extremely proud and happy” to be following in the footsteps of the pioneering black supermodel. Naomi Campbell was one of the first black models to receive international recognition.