Those of us who
stalk follow Rihanna always enjoy seeing the candid beach-and-street shots from Barbados that show up every Christmas when the Bajan singer goes home for the holidays.
Back on de island, RiRi is literally the girl-next-door who conquered the world — admired by everyone, but without all the persistent, delirious fawning that has become a fixture of her superstar life. On Accra Beach, she blends right in.
So it was quite a happy surprise to see the minimalist look that Rihanna sports in her new ad campaign for Armani underwear and jeans: this is retro RiRi, looking exactly as she did 7 years ago when she was plucked from island obscurity and whisked away to superstardom in New York.
Gone are the flashy accessories, the trendy colored hairstyles and the racial ambiguity that have characterized some of the past photoshoots for this versatile fashion chameleon. Instead, this time RiRi shows up in a dark layered shag and bangs suitable for any high school girl, with natural lighting and makeup that bring out her deep café-au-lait skin tones.
Many of Rihanna’s worldwide fans won’t pick up on the sly style hints in this shoot, but back in Barbados — where countless young women resemble this look — these images will bring tears to many eyes. It’s a simple, affectionate tribute to her roots from one of the world’s most glittering megawatt celebrities.
Here are some more images from the new Armani campaign which, like last year’s sexy blonde-in-a-car shoot, is certain to become one of 2012’s most admired and talked-about.