The news alone that Rihanna and boyfriend ASAP Rocky are expecting was enough to shake social media (and generate a plethora of memes, including some memorable digs at Drake).
But it was the images of Rihanna’s announcement that will inevitably stick in the collective pop culture mindset. Wearing a pair of ripped and faded jeans and vintage Chanel chain link and Gripoix belts and jewelry, the singer wore what any expecting mother would wear in the dead of winter: a puffer coat. But Rihanna being Rihanna, the superstar wore it defiantly her way, the puffer also being Chanel and bubblegum pink, and styled with only one button done, the better to reveal her full baby bump.
The images have already caused a spike in related fashion searches, with LoveTheSales reporting a more than 200% increase in searches for “pink padded coats” and a more than 175% increase in searches for “ripped blue jeans,” plus an 80% increase in searches for pearl necklaces (all within the hour of the announcement).
They’ve also declared that the Rihanna bump watch is here.
To be clear, Rihanna is not the first celebrity to announce a pregnancy with a bare belly. Pop culture is filled with idolized moments of maternity, from Demi Moore’s 1991 nude “Vanity Fair” cover (with only a thigh and her hands and gigantic diamond ring covering her private parts, the bump just one part of a provocative pose) to Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement in 2017 via Instagram (which became the platform’s most-liked photo of the year).
But Rihanna’s photos were different. Set not in the controlled environment of a studio (with the benefits of a glam team, lighting and retouching) but outside on the cold January streets of New York, the photo of the star alongside ASAP Rocky read like a permission slip from Rihanna to other expecting mothers: Yes, you can wear this while pregnant — in real life. No need for a doctored photo shoot.
It’s now common fashion knowledge that the star pushes sartorial boundaries. But expanding those limits while pregnant is a different story. Societal norms still expect that the expecting to cover up both pregnancy and motherhood in certain ways, with visible and physical baby bumps and breastfeeding finally not illegal but also still somewhat taboo in public.
With Rihanna’s pregnancy announcement photos baring it all, we can expect that the star’s maternity style will continue in the same unbothered way, casually showing her bump during daily outings, walking to a restaurant for date night, bopping all over Manhattan for various appointments.
It is her effortlessness that makes Rihanna such an irresistible figure in fashion, after all, and her nonchalance is likely to communicate an increasing acceptance of pregnancy and motherhood in public life. The star’s very visible maternity moment may also help to permeate through a society that continues to struggle with any structured family leave policies.
Rihanna may not change her personal style at all during her pregnancy — and that message will go a long way.
Ever the businesswoman, it also won’t be surprising if the star dons a lingerie set or two from her Savage Fenty line during the next few months. We can expect the star to play with different silhouettes — as she always has — and likely continue to wear her favored high heels, as she has already proven in recent paparazzi shots from the past few weeks. The message: Wear your heels, or your sneakers — or whatever you want — while pregnant.
As always, the public will be all eyes.