Rihanna in Havana makes the front cover of Vanity Fair

Posted: 07-Oct-15 12:45

On the latest edition of the prestigious fashion and lifestyle magazine, Vanity Fair, a shot of Rihanna leaning against a classic American car in Havana makes the front cover. Titled "Our Woman in Havana: Rihanna" the magazine's feature article on this month's issue is about the young songstress and her recent visit to Cuba is documented in a gallery of provocative photos by Annie Leibovitz. These pictures show the Havana of yesteryear that still lives on today, from dated house interiors where flaking paint and decaying vintage furniture help portray he finest example of shabby chic to Havana streets inundated with fans trying to get close to the R&B star.

Rihanna in Havana makes the front cover of Vanity Fair

Gracing the front cover of Vanity Fair on the November 2015 issue stands a sultry scantily-clad Rihanna leaning against a blue vintage American classic from the 50s. It’s the image of perfection, two beauties harmoniously posing next to each other. Such a captivating front cover does indeed look like a promising introduction to the contents inside and here the magazine doesn’t disappoint, with a series of artistic shots against striking colourful backgrounds of glamorously decaying Cuba, one of which even shows Rihanna tastefully posing in the nude.

The epitome of shabby chic, it comes as no surprise that the magazine fashion and style director would choose Cuba as the perfect setting for Rihanna’s Vanity cover photoshoot. As soon as they had confirmation that they would be interviewing Rihanna for an upcoming issue and hearing the travel ban to Cuba had been eased in the previous week choosing Cuba as a location came naturally, a no-brainer as style director, Jessica Diehl, herself explains;

"It all sort of happened at the same time. . . . The minute it was decided that Rihanna would be on our cover, travel restrictions were lifted, so we went straight away. It was sort of a no-brainer."

The creative process underwent once in the island to find locations and photograph Rihanna was chaotic and haphazard at times but it proved immensely rewarding as Cuba is naturally graced with sharp contrasts and dramatic colours.

Further explaining this process, Diehl says;

"It’s a combination: you have Rihanna, then you have Cuba, then you have [photographer] Annie [Leibovitz] who loves Cuba, and has photographed lots of things there. It’s taking into account the colouring, and the mood, and the sort of patina of the places and houses and music venues and things like that."

"It became about what would be, in our imaginary world, believable, because it didn’t feel completely right to go 4,000 percent over the top—we wanted to be part of Cuba, we didn’t want to be outside of Cuba. The clothes . . . felt like something Rihanna would take off the rack herself, like something we could send her out into the street with. If she had been in any way constrained or posing or feeling artificial, none of what we did would have worked, really."

As can be seen on the magazine's published pictures, the picked locations in Havana for Rihanna's photoshoot are a combination of renowned places, like the staircase of the popular paladar La Guarida (also the filming location for the Oscar-nominated Cuban film “Fresa y Chocolate”) and other virtually unknown (yet equally photogenic) corners of the city like the heavily dated and startingly red Bar La Rosa where Rihanna posed next to a 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II (once allegedly owned by the wife of former Cuban President, Batista) in Havana's rundown neighbourhood of Cerro.

On the interior side of things Rihanna posed in Josie Alonso House's living room, a colonial property in downtown Havana's popular neighbourhood and atmospheric of Vedado. It was inside one of the bedrooms of this very house that Rihanna bared all and posed in the nude whilst lying on a bed.

The much talked about visit of Rihanna to Cuba featured in every online publication at the time of her arrival last May. At the time she was famously photographed dining at La Fontana, another popular paladar frequented by other celebrities who have been to the island, like Beyonce and Jay Z, dancing salsa at the Casa de la Musica in Miramar, and also among crowds of cheering fans on the streets going mad with their mobile phones trying to capture close-up shots of the red-haired startlet.

As Diehl herself concluded on Vanity Fair's latest publication, the end result was:

"It’s clearly not a fashion show; it’s simply Rihanna in Cuba."

Note: All image rights, Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair


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