In the era of smartphones and social media, it’s not often that a magazine cover makes us want to rush out to the newsstand and pick up a hard copy of an issue—but W‘s September 2016 cover is one of the exceptions. The “special collector’s issue” stars Rihanna as a post-apocalyptic queen, both during peacetime (a regal-looking black-and-white shot) and at war (a full-color version dripping with Cartier face jewelry). According to The Business of Fashion, the diamond and ruby-encrusted pieces were so valuable it took five members of the Cartier team to escort them from the UK to New York.
Shot by Steven Klein and styled by Edward Enninful, the spread was originally conceptualized as a short film written by “Se7en” screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walke. According to the magazine, “The narrative follows a group of warriors fighting for freedom of expression, with Rihanna in the lead role, in a far-off world dominated by thinking machines.”
What this translates to, fashion-wise, is a portfolio of futuristic-dystopian looks by designers such as Prada, Gareth Pugh, Hood by Air Atelier, Dior, and Maison Margiela by John Galliano (many of which were custom-made). Fenty Puma by Rihanna also makes an appearance, in the form of a leather jacket, corset, and matching pants.
“The thing about Rihanna is that she never wants to repeat something she’s done, and she did a video where she wore lots of camouflage—so I knew I didn’t want to do a military story,” explains Enninful in a blog post about the making of the cover story. “Instead, I wanted to do something that was set in the future world. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to take this concept and apply it to the last woman on earth, the last warrior on earth, really.'”
Which is fair, really: if we had to peg any celebrity to be the last woman standing after the apocalypse, Rihanna would be it.
Get a peek at the spread below and see the rest of the story on Wmagazine.com.