Rihanna, she of the CFDA naked dress, wore clothes. For fashion. But, how!
Harper's Bazaar Arabia, that's how. Rih covers the publication's June/July issue, ushering in the era of New Modesty. It is an age that's defined by elaborate beading, rich patterns, and hardly any skin showing. Some might call it dressing for New England winters, but North Face jackets and a trusty pair of L.L. Bean boots are not part of the "New Modesty" aesthetic, according to the mag.
In the magazine — the Arabic satellite of Harper's Bazaar — the New Modesty human (their term, not ours) is adorned in crystal bodysuits and full-length garments made of silk. There are headpieces that veil the face in glamorous mystery and beg the audience to wonder: Who is she? Yes, even a personality as loud and unapologetic as Rihanna can come across as elusive.
This isn’t the first time Rihanna has played the modesty card. While on the international leg of her Diamonds World Tour in October of 2013, she held an impromptu Insta-shoot at a mosque. She received a lot of flack for the images, with many arguing her shoot was disrespectful to the sanctity of the site. Harper’s Bazaar Arabia did well to avoid another controversy with its styling, opting for more covered and "demure" (for RiRi, at least) outfits and looks. Instead of outright poaching a meaningful and culturally specific item like the niqāb like one particular celebrity, Rihanna's ornate head-wrap and coverings stay both true to the audience and the pop star.
Rihanna looks incredible. She hasn’t put out any new material in over two years, but she doesn’t have to. The Rihanna reign just won’t let up. It’s her image that people crave, in the end.