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Next Monday at the CFDA Awards, Rihanna will be swooping in to pick up 2014's Fashion Icon Award, which has previously gone to an eclectic mix of recipients including Johnny Depp and Lady Gaga. The New York Times interviewed the man responsible for her rise to fashion stardom, stylist Mel Ottenberg, to get a behind-the-scenes look at how her wardrobe comes together.
For starters, she currently has nothing to wear. "It's the end of May," Ottenberg told the Times, "and we've already used up all of fall/winter. It's over." While the F/W14 collections won't even be made available to the common folk for months, Rihanna has already seen, worn, and moved on from those looks. (Will she dip into S/S15 next? Sneak into an H&M? The suspense!)
Ottenberg doesn't follow the typical path of celebrity stylists, but rather has chosen to solely style Rihanna while also juggling numerous editorial projects, which include contributing work to magazines such as Purple and i-D, consulting for Nike, and a place on the masthead as fashion director for Berlin-based culture journal 032c. He also used to style John Galliano back in the designer's heyday at Dior, which has been recounted in an eyebrow-raising story involving Ottenberg's desire to buy a homeless man's clothes off his back in Paris.
A still from the "We Found Love" video. Image via NY Times
Scandalous rumors aside, Ottenberg has proven to be a good match for Rihanna. They've been working together since 2011's "We Found Love" music video, in which Rihanna wears Ottenberg's boyfriend's clothes in most of the scenes. Now, Ottenberg regularly dresses her for everything from the red carpet to the front row at Paris Fashion Week. He's gotten really fast at it, too. "I get her dressed for some of her biggest red-carpet things in three minutes," he told the Times. "That's all I really have."
As for Monday night's appearance at the CFDA Awards, Ottenberg is viewing it just as any other job. "It's a new medium for doing a fashion shoot," he said.
· Rihanna's Style Has A Name: Mel Ottenberg [NY Times]
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