When Rihanna and Janet Jackson come together, the results are bound to be spectacular, and tonight at the Fashion Awards in London, the two divas shared the stage for the first time. No, they weren’t there to announce an internet-breaking pop collaboration—though fingers crossed, that is coming—instead, Jackson presented the bad gal with the Urban Luxe award for her contributions to sportswear.
The prize, which went to Off-White’s Virgil Abloh last year, was created by the British Fashion Council to honor contemporary labels that elevate the concept of casual, in this case Fenty, Rihanna’s LVMH-backed fashion house. In five short months it has established itself as a force to be reckoned with, thanks to sold-out drops and red carpet appearances on celebrities such as Bella Hadid and Cardi B. Her own best spokesperson and fit model, Rihanna has made headlines for wearing her creations and the jaw-dropping outfit she chose this evening was no exception. The mint green Fenty minidress with its transparent jacket was precisely the kind of style we’ve come to expect from the musician turned fashion and beauty mogul. Likewise, Jackson’s black fur and matching hat was a striking take on the dramatic look she’s cultivated for years.
Jackson’s presence at the awards had special significance. As a fashion innovator and chart-topping artist who unapologetically challenged ideas about what a pop star could do, she paved the way for the current generation of stars—something, Rihanna has repeatedly acknowledged. “Janet Jackson, Destiny’s Child, Whitney Houston—they were the people who motivated me to do this, who I idolized and looked up to, and said I want to be like them,” she told MTV in 2010. “That started the dream, and it just went from there, and became a reality.” Rihanna’s Urban Luxe award win brings things full circle.