Rihanna wanted to honor black female fashion activists with the release of her Fenty fashion line.
The first imagery from the 31-year-old’s debut collection with French luxury conglomerate Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) has been released, which juxtaposes models wearing the Fenty pieces directly against vintage snaps by pioneering photographer Kwame Brathwaite.
The fashion mogul, who launched the project in Paris last week, opened up about the inspiration for the first drop during an interview for Vogue.com,
“When I was coming up with the concept for this release, we were just digging and digging and we came up with these images,” Rihanna told Vogue.com. “They made me feel they were relevant to what we are doing right now. It was a really strange and powerful parallel.”
In the ’50s and ’60s, the now 81-year-old photographer extensively documented the African-American community in Harlem, which began the movement of the Grandassa models, who championed the Black is Beautiful initiative.
Rihanna insisted, however, that although the groundbreaking collection embraces the legacy of black creatives, her clothes aren’t meant to be a political statement.
“Well, I don’t know if it’s political so much as embracing the fact that people should be more aware,” she said. “But definitely, we want people to see the parallels between what was then and what this is now, in a modern way.”