Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

When it comes to shopping the British high street, TopShop has been pretty much my only destination for as long as I can remember; from girl to woman. Sure there was a brief flirtation with Gap back when their European design team was based in London. Then at the advent of each new fashion season I hit up Zara as well as making a few judicious designer purchases from Celine, Givenchy and Acne.

I'm not about to say I shop at River Island, I don't, but my 23 year old sister does. She says their jeans are for girls with "booty" whereas TopShop's are for "skinny girls". Anyway River Island's recent activity has given me pause to take them more seriously as a fashion player on the British high street at this recession hit moment. First there was the cleverness of the brilliantly eclectic "Blogger Trend" at their AW12 press day back in early May. When we covered it on this blog, the story went viral with what felt like everyone in the fashion blogosphere wanting to share their thoughts on the matter.

But yesterday River Island scored the biggest and best PR coup in its 64 year history, simultaneously knocking their local and global competition into a cocked hat and no doubt jolting their rivals TopShop into speechless surprise: they revealed they had signed up Rihanna to design a Spring/Summer 2013 collection for them, in collaboration of course. Actually, unbelievably, they revealed that Rihanna had asked River Island - or as it has been renamed RiRi Island - if she could design a collection for them. Presumably she set the no doubt gargantuan fee structure too while the executive were foaming at the mouth ££ signs in their eyes...

The breathless coverage meted out in the British national and digital press today has been nothing short of cringeworthy in its overblown excitement. It supposes that all we have been waiting for in our lives is the chance to buy a jewelled cap, some high tops and an animal print onesie with laddered thigh sections - as if we couldn't already!

Anyway, the fashion chameleon that is the awesome Rihanna also happens to be the world's biggest popstar with the most followed style amongst young women and bloody hell if a British high street chain didn't go and land the big fish! Girls under 25 with a Rihanna single or five on their playlist will be lapping this one up if only for the fairy dust of their icon to rub off on them.

Someone at River Island is doing something very right. Maybe it is Ben Lewis the Cambridge University educated CEO of River Island (and nephew of the chain's founder Bernard Lewis) who recently took over the reins of the 300-store strong fashion chain after working in every department of the business over the last 20 years? But when I asked, typically as with most high street fashion press offices, the girl on the desk knew very little and is not authorised to say anything other than "it is a group effort" and other obfuscating inanities. Well, it is a privately owned company so they don't have to say anything. So well done, Ri-Ri Island. Now onto guessing what River Island and Rihanna will do together..

All that remains is for me to wonder:

1. How Rihanna's friendship with Chloe Green (daughter of Sir Phillip Green, TopShop's owner) is faring after the news hit yesterday?

2. Why DID Rihanna choose River Island over TopShop? Or did TopShop say no to Rihanna because they only work with fashion designers? Hmmm.

3. Is Rihanna prepping for a career change? Not only is she creating this collection with River Island, she has executive produced a TV fashion talent show with Sky Living HD called "Styled to Rock" which airs later this summer...

4. What do you want to see in this collection? Will you be buying? I'm looking forward to it in a twisted kinda way. 

Hmm.. maybe I'll do this one in leopard print with gold studs.. Rihanna with her serious fashionista head on,
shopping River Island back in March (from mirror.co.uk)

A nice red carpet dress... 
Bootylicious bikinis and summer wear

Basics with a Ri-Ri twist
Sportswear, denim, hoodies, micro shorts
Caps..River Island is already doing Ri-Ri style for Autumn 2012

High tops: River Island collection Autumn/Winter 2012
Fuck-off sexy boots: River Island collection Autumn/Winter 2012

Blingin dresses: River Island collection Autumn/Winter 2012


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