When one hears Adam Selman”s name, Rihanna inevitably comes to mind. The designer, who got his start by helping to create costumes for stars like Britney Spears and Michael Jackson, has worked with the Barbadian pop singer”s stylist Mel Ottenberg for the past few years to dream up custom tour looks. And, of course, he serves as the co-designer on her River Island capsule. This season Selman stepped out on his own, presenting his debut eponymous collection. “I definitely like to embrace that my name is going to be associated with Rihanna,” said Selman at his buzzy presentation at a gallery in the West Village. “I love working with her, but I”ve got a few tricks up my sleeve.”
For his first effort he turned out a vintage boudoir collection inspired by retro Cosmopolitan covers shot by Francesco Scavullo and an eighties HBO documentary about supermodels, Beautiful Baby, Beautiful. “I thought about the model-photographer relationship,” said Selman—a sentiment he spoofed by getting cult comedienne Amy Sedaris to direct his models during the presentation. Blending references from the seventies (evident in tricolor rayon palazzo pants paired with a turban-esque headband and a black blouse tied just below the bust) through the early 2000s (oversize backpacks with a raver vibe), Selman”s offerings were playful and nostalgic. “I love the idea of a super-sexy, sultry woman, wearing something cut down to here, but it”s unrealistic. I really respond to masculine shapes interpreted in a feminine way,” he explained. Some of his wares, like a baby-pink silk cropped baseball shirt worn with matching short shorts, or little spaghetti-strap slips made in the same style, seemed more appropriate for the bedroom than the street. But others, like his oversize sharp-collared white twill trench shown with a black rayon one-piece swimsuit, as well as navy twill denim high-waist skinny trousers and a workman”s jacket, were youthful and fun. An easy black twill romper was also a wearable standout.
When it was suggested that Rihanna might favor some of his skimpier Spring styles, Selman offered, “I would hope so! She can have anything she wants.”
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