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Rihanna for Dior Secret Garden Steven Klein
Rihanna in Dior’s Secret Garden film

Decoding Rihanna’s Dior campaign

Five things you might have missed from the queen of pop’s Secret Garden film

Last night, Rihanna’s long-awaited Dior campaign dropped in full with a film by Steven Klein. Read on for the five things you need to know about it, and head here to find out what the campaign means for fashion.

YOU CAN SNEAK A LISTEN TO HER NEW ALBUM

“Style is almost an extension of my music,” said cover star Rihanna in AnOther’s Spring/Summer 2015 issue, so it’s no surprise such a big fashion step for the singer would include one of her songs. We’ve had “Four Five Seconds”, “Bitch Better Have My Money” and “American Oxygen”; now the campaign features a new song titled “A Night”, which samples the 2011 Florence + The Machine track “Only If For A Night”.  Produced by Midas (and making a change from the previous Depeche Mode Secret Garden soundtracks) it’s the first track on her upcoming album R8 (so named because it’s her eighth studio effort). 

SHE’S THE NEW QUEEN OF VERSAILLES

The film shows Rihanna walking the grounds of the palace at night, twirling through the Hall of Mirrors and shimmying beneath crystal chandeliers. It’s a powerful cultural symbol that Rihanna, as the house’s first black spokesperson, is in such an historical location for the campaign – it’s a quietly rebellious statement against France's institutional fashion history. Dior called RiRi a “modern muse”, and if the campaign shows one thing, it’s that stars like her are the new monarchs. 

IT TIES THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF DIOR

Versailles is a place with strong historical links to Dior – the house’s first collections had silhouettes that took their names from the palace, and were often photographed by iconic German lensman Willy Maywald in the grounds, some of which Dior are currently restoring. It’s not all about looking to the past, though, but the way what’s gone before informs the present – something artistic director Raf Simons has taken to heart at Dior as he’s spun their history into new forms (take the Pre-AW collection’s reworked bar jackets and other classic silhouettes as a case in point). As for the future, the campaign makes Rihanna the first black woman to front the house: it’s a positive statement for a brand that’s both historic and innovative. 

THE COLLECTION WAS INSPIRED BY JAPAN

The campaign features Dior’s Pre-AW Espirit collection presented in the Japanese capital Tokyo in December last year, which took some of its creative cues from the metropolis and the way “so many people take the liberty to express themselves” there, as Raf Simons explained to Dazed’s Susie Bubble backstage. One aspect marked a change of direction for the designer: “I hate sequins normally!” Simons admitted, but he put them to use to create shimmering silver second skin polo necks, one of which is donned by RiRi in the film.

DIOR HAVE REVAMPED THEIR TYPEFACE

You might not have noticed, what with these being pictures of one of the most attention-commanding women on the planet and all, but with the campaign the French fashion house have chosen a different logo. Instead of the usual Dior (lower case, shortened from the full Christian Dior during the 1990s, it’s capitalised to DIOR and the house’s usual Nicolas Cochin font has been condensed. While it’s not an entirely new creation for the house, it’s an interesting choice, setting this Secret Garden campaign apart from its predecessors featuring models including Daria Strokous and Fei Fei Sun.

Watch the full film below: