Rihanna’s Stylist Explains Her New Tour Costumes



Custom Jeremy Scott blue lamé jacket (not pictured); custom Adam Selman and Tom Binns bikini; custom Max Kibardin shoes.

Mel Ottenberg: “I was thinking of a Fiorucci rave goddess. The bikini is an insane asylum. I wanted to use Tom Binns jewelry, but then I thought, Let’s have him collaborate on an outfit. And Tom was game. Adam Selman made the bra and panties. We fit it four times on Rihanna to make it fit in that incredible way that hugs her curves. Once the fittings were completed we gave it to Tom to paint. When you see that thing in person it’s the most incredible fucking thing.”


Yves St. Laurent men’s tuxedo; Yves St. Laurent men’s shirt (both customized to tear away, both not pictured); Lanvin customized bow tie; custom Adam Selman bodysuit; harness by Fleet Ilya; custom Oscar de la Renta booties.

Mel Ottenberg: “The white booties she is in are scandalous. How major are those slutty scandalous costumes threeasfour did on the backup dancers? It was entertaining to make them work on that!”


Custom Jeremy Scott dog-tag dress; Jeremy Scott for Adidas boots.

Mel Ottenberg: “Jeremy came up with that idea, and the way he realized it was super great with really lightweight dog tags. The backup dancers we just styled it from the Army Navy store.”


Custom gown by Mel Ottenberg Adam Selman, and Nicolas Caito; custom boots by Mel Ottenberg and Pasquale; Alexis Bittar cuffs.

Mel Ottenberg: “This is the slow jams part of the show, but we wanted it to still be rock ‘n’ roll. I designed the boots, and Pasquale made them. He is a shoe god. A genius of shoes. We did brown because there was so much black in the S&M portion. Adam and I designed the dress and worked with Nicolas Caito, who does custom gowns. That dress works for dramatic slow songs, but it looks like Donna Summer as a rock star.”


Custom Chris Benz feather coat (not pictured); custom Adam Selman bow, hot pants, top; hand-painted Perfecto jacket by Claire Barrow.

Mel Ottenberg: “This is so twisted. Chris Benz knows where to get feathers. There’s another one even stupider getting shipped to the tour today! Adam is all about denim and bandannas so he made super-sick denim bandanna hot pants for her. They are super high-waisted, and they have holes and patches all over them. And he made that big stupid bow.”


Custom Jeremy Scott dress.

Mel Ottenberg: “Jeremy Scott’s gold collection was early in his career, his second show in Paris, and super controversial. People said he’d never work again afterwards. So I said, lets do an all-gold outfit that references that show. I showed the pictures of that show to Rihanna, and she loved them.”

Rihanna’s “Loud” tour began last week, and, if it wasn’t “loud” in any other way, it most definitely lived up to its name in the sartorial sense. Concert-goers attending for the clothes alone surely won’t be disappointed. Every jacket begging to be ripped off to reveal some sort of scandalous embellished leotard or bikini is, and it reveals just that kind of thing. Responsible for the encrusted bikini, denim bra, and remarkably skimpy metallic romper Rihanna wears onstage is stylist Mel Ottenberg, who met Rihanna through mutual friends of hers and Kanye West’s, whom Ottenberg has also worked with. Ottenberg first worked with Rihanna when she performed for the NBA All Stars halftime show, when she wore a chunky beaded Dolce & Gabbana bustier from 1991. “We hit it off, and they asked me to do the tour,” he told us. Incidentally, his work on this look also sparked rumors that Rihanna was no longer working with longtime stylist Mariel Haenn, who hasn’t worked on the current “Loud” tour, Rihanna’s recent Rolling Stone cover, or the singer’s other recent public appearances.

Though Rihanna could certainly afford to have a big-name designer like Armani dress her, Ottenberg chose a different route, using pieces by independent designers, including some complete unknowns along with threeasfour, Jeremy Scott, and even his boyfriend, Adam Selman. Ottenberg takes us through Rihanna’s concert looks in the slideshow.

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