Via MuuMuse.com: From the jagged, metallic logo to the last seconds of the Last Girl on Earth Tour, Simon Henwood has been the crucial creative force behind one of the most dramatic artistic reinventions in recent pop history: Rihanna’s Rated R campaign.
Back in the fall of 2009, a gritty, static viral video for “Wait Your Turn” teased its way onto the singer’s official website. The clip showcased the formerly sunny Barbadian pop princess now looking murderously serious in all black; her long hair slicked back beneath a hood and over-sized sunglasses.
With the release of the devastating lead ballad “Russian Roulette” days later, it became clear: Gone was the sun soaked, island-infused energy of Music Of The Sun and A Girl Like Me. Instead, Rated R ushered in a chilly new era of sound, colored (or rather, darkened) by the ominous imagery of sharp metal, broken glass, dismembered mannequins and guns.
To execute this new image, Rihanna worked with Simon Henwood, the creative director responsible for such productions as Kanye West‘s Glow In The Dark Tour and the gorgeous video for the rapper’s “Love Lockdown,” Imogen Heap‘s video for “Headlock,” and the bulk of Róisín Murphy‘s visual output over the past decade. (Fitting, especially given that the two recently welcomed a child together.)
Henwood and Rihanna worked together closely throughout the entire Rated R era, evolving and finessing the entertainer’s dramatic change of style into a sophisticated neo-rock ‘n’ roll noir.
Now, that transformation is about to be put on public display with the release of The Last Girl On Earth, the long delayed photo-book that promises to guide fans through the entire Rated R creative journey from start to finish.
A few days ago, Henwood was kind enough to answer a few lingering questions that remained from Rihanna’s last campaign. The creative director provided a few small glimpses into the process throughout, as well as a better idea of his vision as an artist (plus a brilliantly subtle swipe at Madame Gaga).
For skeptics, casual fans and fellow Rihanna Navy members alike, this one’s a must read.
Be sure to click “Read More” and see the interview!