How Rihanna’s Stylist Crafted Her Super Bowl Look—While Keeping Her Pregnancy a Secret

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Rihanna knows how to make a memorable moment. The musician and mogul began her Super Bowl LVII halftime show suspended on a raised platform 60 feet above the ground, clad in a striking all-red look designed by Alaïa and Loewe. The second she rubbed what appeared to be a slight baby bump, the Internet was set ablaze with speculation on whether the superstar was expecting her second child or not (she is, her publicist confirmed that night). The halftime show, then, became an epic pregnancy reveal—and it was a secret that her stylist Jahleel Weaver had to keep during final fittings. “That was the hardest thing to manoeuvre around—the privacy and secrecy,” Weaver says. “She didn’t tell me until three weeks before [the Super Bowl]. She finally told me when we were reviewing sketches, and I was like, ‘Is this a joke?’”

While Weaver’s preparations for the Super Bowl began all the way back in December, the stylist didn’t know about Rihanna’s pregnancy until three weeks before the show. Even before, Weaver says the pair knew they wanted to work with Alaïa and Loewe. “We approached them,” says Weaver. “We started thinking about designers that we love, who we haven’t worked with on a deeper scale.” 

They landed on a bodysuit with a moulded breast bustier from Loewe, with two different Alaïa coats worn on top throughout the performance, as well as Alaïa gloves. “[The bodysuit] was a play on a piece that Rih and I really liked from Loewe’s spring 2022 collection, and Jonathan [Anderson] proposed doing it in leather,” says Weaver. As for the striking coats—one short and one floor-length—Weaver knew they wanted to work with Alaïa, who also designed her Super Bowl press conference look. “I love what Alaïa does so much, and so does Rih,” says Weaver. “We knew that whatever they were going to come up with was going to fit to perfection.”

Weaver says that the designs didn’t change much when he learned Rihanna was expecting. When requesting subtle shifts in the design, he kept the news a secret from the designers. “I would tell the designers, ‘I would leave a bit of extra room here,’” says Weaver. “Just in case.” Rihanna’s growing baby bump did mean slightly more alterations during fittings than usual. “In a week, she grows,” says Weaver. “So her body would be completely different from the week before. We were constantly having to adjust based on the growth of her body. We landed on this idea of how to show the body, but also have the flexibility for movement.”

Comfort and practicality became extremely important to the look. This idea extended right down to the choice of shoes: A bright red pair of Salomon x MM6 high-top sneakers. Originally, Weaver says he wanted to do a sky-high heel, but the vertiginous setting made that tricky. (Rih is no stranger to wearing stilettos while expecting; That wasn’t the issue). “I will fight till the end for a heel, and I did—but I lost,” laughs Weaver. “But I completely understood the safety concerns around the heels. She was suspended 60 feet above ground!” The Salomons sneakers felt sturdy, yet fresh. And it turns out, Rihanna’s a big fan of the practical silhouette. “[Rih] has been a fan of Salomon sneakers,” Weaver says. “It’s a hiking shoe, so it’s cool to see them take on a life of its own in the fashion world.”

Despite all of this background work that went into ensuring Rihanna’s look was pragmatic and fierce, Weaver didn’t know if the superstar would be announcing—or concealing—her pregnancy during the show until moments before. “I prepared for either scenario, but she decided at the last minute to do it,” he says. Reflecting on the moment she finally hit the stage, Weaver was emotional seeing the look come to life. Her willingness to create memorable moments and really go for it is why he loves working with her. “She has no fear,” says Weaver. “It’s really cool that she is always willing to do what looks cool and new. She doesn’t dumb it down for anyone.” 

Post-halftime show, Weaver adds that they had a brief moment of celebration—emphasis on brief. “We celebrated for a bit, but honestly,” says Weaver, “I actually fell asleep in the venue!”

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