Proof Rihanna really is queen of the divas: She’s the only star to let the V&A use her outfits for their ‘Diva’ exhibit but demands fans don’t take photos
Even in the world of divas, someone has to be prima donna.
The star has been labelled ‘the ultimate diva’ after she banned the public from taking photographs of her outfits – at a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition devoted to divas.
While visitors are encouraged to take photographs of clothes celebrating the likes of Cher, Marilyn Monroe and Dame Shirley Bassey, they could find themselves carted off by security if they try to snap any of the material relating to Rihanna.
It is believed that the 35-year-old Barbadian, best known for hits such as Umbrella, Diamonds and Take A Bow, stipulated the ban as a condition for providing iconic outfits from her private archive.
Rihanna attending the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 Met Gala
The singer wearing a black beanie hat and Balenciaga overcoat worn to the 2021 Met Gala
She has loaned the museum the Pope-inspired gown she wore for New York’s Met Gala in 2018, and the nude dress embellished with more than 200,000 Swarovski crystals which she wore at the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards in 2014.
Visitors can also see the singer’s sheer maternity gown from the 2023 Academy Awards, a black beanie hat and Balenciaga overcoat worn to the 2021 Met Gala and a grey and white ensemble from her 2016 world tour. When a Mail on Sunday reporter visited the £20-a-head ‘Diva’ exhibition last week, she was told by a steward that photography was being prohibited at the singer’s own request.
The steward said: ‘We weren’t given much explanation past ‘it’s the request of the artist’, and I personally can’t even come up with a possible excuse. These dresses are here because she’s already been photographed wearing them in a million different ways.
‘I would love to know why because I have to explain it to people. I just say: ‘She’s a diva, isn’t she. We’ll leave it at that.’ Visitors think it’s funny.’
Rihanna has made plenty of headlines for her diva demands. She reportedly gave staff a ten-page document of requests for her world tour in 2013, which included ensuring that her dressing room was precisely 73F and had all-white furniture.
Bestselling novelist Kathy Lette said the singer’s ban on pictures was itself a powerful statement. She said: ‘This exhibition is a celebration of Divas and what better example of Diva-dom could there be than to ban museum visitors from taking photos of her outfits?’
The star has been labelled ‘the ultimate diva’ after she banned the public from taking photographs of her outfits – at a Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition devoted to divas
Visitors can see the singer’s sheer maternity gown from the 2023 Academy Awards, a black beanie hat and Balenciaga overcoat worn to the 2021 Met Gala and a grey and white ensemble from her 2016 world tour.
Alison Jackson, the photographer and Bafta-winning filmmaker, said: ‘It is difficult to understand the reasons for the ban… is she being contrary on purpose for publicity? Or perhaps the designers of the outfits have stipulated that they cannot be photographed as it may reveal their special secrets of design crafting?’
The Diva exhibition, which is on until April next year, also features Tina Turner’s Flame dress from 1977 and a Vivienne Westwood dress worn by Adele on the cover of British Vogue in 2021.
A spokesman for Rihanna was contacted for comment.