Rihanna Celebrates Her Visual Autobiography

Rihanna - Autobiography - Getty - H 2019

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The Friday night party in New York was the culmination of a five-year project that includes three limited-edition versions of the book; one sold-out edition went to Cardi B for $111k at Rihanna's Diamond Ball last month, a move the singer calls "baller."

Just a little over an hour after Rihanna's arrival (wearing a Saint Laurent leopard-print, one-shoulder dress and python boots by Anthony Vaccarello), the Guggenheim Museum's supply of Champagne Armand de Brignac had completely run out — but the party, celebrating the multihyphenate's book launch, was nowhere near complete.

All phones were tucked away in locked pouches, and most guests — publishing executives, influencers and fans alike — spent the duration of the evening perusing sample copies of the new book, Rihanna (Phaidon, $150), a 504-page visual autobiography featuring 1,050 color photographs and eleven special inserts that ships on Oct 24.

The party marked the culmination of a five-year project that Rihanna managed to complete while working on her music (she has been teasing a ninth album and exploration of a tenth) and her multiple brands (Fenty Beauty, Fenty, Savage x Fenty) and more.

"I tried to pick the ones that I looked cute in first," Rihanna joked to The Hollywood Reporter of the process of selecting the imagery. "Then, I tried to narrow down these moments in my life that I felt were monumental, and then also things that I felt people didn't have access to — different moments in my life, personally, even before my fans met me." The musician-mogul added that she "enjoyed the experience" of sorting through the documented moments of her life, and she hopes that her fans will get that same feeling when looking at them.

Those in attendance not only had access to the large-format edition of Rihanna, but also one of the book's three limited editions, Rihanna: Luxury Supreme ($5,500) that ships on Nov. 20. Created in collaboration with Los Angeles-based artists-designers The Haas Brothers, the autographed luxury edition is much larger, and comes with "Drippy + The Brain," an 18-carat gold custom cast-resin tabletop bookstand.

The price tag isn't as shocking when you consider Rihanna: Ultra Luxury Supreme — an even grander (and now sold-out) version of the autobiography, along with an accompanying hand-carved marble pedestal by The Haas Brothers dubbed "Stoner." Cardi B bid on and won the top-tier book for $111,000 at Rihanna's fifth annual Diamond Ball in September, which Rihanna described to THR as a "baller" move.

A  large-format, limited-edition Rihanna: Fenty x Phaidon version ($175) debuted on Oct.10, with a "This Sh*t Is Heavy" custom steel chrome book stand, in a shape inspired by Rihanna's hands, also created by The Haas Brothers. 

Rihanna thanked Nikolai and Simon Haas, the publishing house Phaidon, editor Jen O'Hill, and her longtime friend Melissa Forde, while delivering a short speech at the crowded museum. The rest of her time was spent navigating the throng of fans that followed wherever she went, though the lack of phones and cameras seemingly allowed her more freedom to stop, talk and enjoy herself.