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As a certified style icon, Rihanna has access to pretty much any designer of her choosing. However, for her “Bitch Better Have My Money” performance on last week’s season finale of SNL, RiRi and her stylist Mel Ottenberg opted for a lesser known designer: Pratt Institute senior Giovanna Flores.
The singer’s head-to-toe denim look was from Flores’ senior thesis collection, which she showed at the Pratt Institute earlier this year. In the audience at the show was alum Adam Selman, the designer behind Rihanna’s now infamous naked dress from last year’s CFDA Awards and the man who ultimately served as the critical link between Flores and the singer.
“[Selman] came to the show and connected me with Mel Ottenberg, her stylist,” Flores tells Pret-a-Reporter. “They told me which look they were interested in, and I ended up remaking look 13 of my thesis collection custom for Rihanna.”
This isn’t the first time Rihanna has rocked a relatively unknown label. The style trailblazer made Guo Pei the most talked about designer of the Met Gala after she owned the red carpet in the designer’s haute couture creation. A Rihanna stamp of approval goes a long way — a fact not lost on Flores.
“It felt really special to see the look on Rihanna!” she says of watching the singer rock her designs on national TV. “It has always been a sort of dream of mine to have one of my looks in a music video setting.”
The belted denim coat and baggy trousers, which Ottenberg styled with a floral bandana and Munnu Palace gems, was the perfect look to accompany the badass anthem, given that it was inspired by urban culture and music.
“The collection is an analysis of different cultures living closely together in cities — kind of an ode to Brooklyn,” noted Flores.
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As for the future, the emerging designer plans to “just go with the flow,” and continue designing for “powerful women with a voice and a strong sense of personal style.”
“I’m looking to empower individuals, not feed trends,” she says.
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