As a beauty editor, I’m lucky enough to get my fair share of invites to cool events. However, when the golden ticket that was the Fenty Beauty by Rihanna landed in my inbox, I was pretty excited that I would breathe the same air as Rihanna.
During NYFW, everything is pretty spread out, which makes getting around a bit difficult at times. Backstage call times start as early as 7 a.m. and can go as late at 9 p.m. depending on the show. Couple that with varying deadlines — and you’ve got a recipe for a hectic week.
In true Rihanna fashion (because why would she be anyone else?!), she held her makeup soiree in the Brooklyn Navy Yard at Duggal Greenhouses — a bare industrial space on the waterfront that was transformed into Fenty Beauty central.
When I arrived, I was promptly handed a glass of Champagne Armand de Brignac Brut Rose (a.k.a. Ace of Spades) as I patiently waited for Rihanna to arrive. Of course, she also had a super cute custom cocktail menu featuring drinks like Ridiiic, Ginger Binge, and Trippin’ on Gin’N’Juice, all nods to her color names.
A mix of top editors, makeup bloggers/vloggers (I spotted Makeup Shayla, Jefree Starr, and Ellarie to name a few), models from the Fenty Beauty campaign (Duckie Thot and Halima Aden) plus execs from Kendo (Fenty Beauty’s parent company) were all in attendance. The music was pumping and energy/anticipation was high. But where was RiRi?
Then, the dark 100-foot curtains parted (I kid you not!) and Rihanna floated on the stage in a custom Oscar de la Renta yellow tee knotted in the front with no bra (because why?), dramatic matching voluminous skirt, and more diamonds shining bright as she addressed the cheering crowd. We’d finally gotten what we came here for: Rihanna!
“I have been working on this with Kendo — my partners — for just over two years, and it’s been my passion project. They’ve been such a delight to work with making all of my crazy wishes and dreams come true,” she gushed.
Magically, the LED screens lifted up and revealed what looked like a gigantic Fenty Beauty boutique. I swear people gasped in amazement — Rihanna was basically giving us the keys to try all 91 products before anyone else.
As soon as the lights flicked back on, mini hors d'oeuvres arrived (think chicken and waffles, tuna tartare, beef sliders, and mac’n’cheese balls) and RiRi made her way to the bar and brushed past me! *silently screams inside*
Everyone was fixated at the stations — there was one for each product category — Pro Filt’r, Killawatt, Gloss Bomb, etc., where you could test to your heart's desire. Plus, each guests was given a wristband that allowed you to add your exact shade into your gift bag.
I headed to the makeup bar to get color matched by a pro. With 40 shades of foundation available, I was quickly able to find my shade (400). Fenty Beauty’s Killawatt highlight is no joke, Trophy Wife was the talk of the evening — Rihanna was rocking it — and it promises serious glow. I also fell in love with the Match Stix, a trio of easy-to-use shimmer and matte contour sticks — my picks are Latte, Ridiiic, and Truffle.
On my way out, I spotted the one and only Joanne the Scammer, plus Tracee Ellis Ross casually chatting with Rihanna’s hairstylist, Yusuf Williams. No big deal!
And apparently, even after a midnight appearance at Sephora Times Square, Rihanna hosted an after-party with EJ Johnson, Brooklyn Becker, and Shay Mitchell in attendance.
Girlfriend is busy!
Keep up with all the behind-the-scenes beauty NYFW action on Instagram @jmargaretbeauty!
(Photo: Paul Morigi/WireImage)
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For the past 10 years, Yusef has been dictating all of the beauty trends we emulate via his most famous client, none other than Rihanna. He started out his career as a performer, but he ended up behind the scenes. In Hairstory, he details his rise in the industry from aspiring singer to creative directing the hair for Fenty x Puma.