Who wouldn’t want to “celebrate the publication of ‘Rihanna’ with Rihanna?”
That’s the rhetorical question that prompted hordes of the pop icon’s diehard fans to fork over around $175 (with tax) for the opportunity to breathe the same air as their idol at the launch party for her new book, held at NYC’s Guggenheim Museum on Friday night.
Fans snagged entry to the fête via an Eventbrite link that made the rounds on social media earlier last week, with each ticket including a copy of the star’s 504-page, 15-pound “visual autobiography.” (The book itself retails for $150, making the admission fee a relative bargain — particularly considering that the open bar was stocked with Armand de Brignac’s “Ace of Spades” Champagne, Rihanna’s preferred bubbly, which costs about $300 per bottle.)
Although guests were required to lock their phones in Yondr pouches upon arrival, there was no shortage of ways to kill time while waiting for the woman of the hour to arrive. In addition to flipping through the copies of her book on display around the lobby (including the $5,500 “Rihanna: Luxury Supreme” edition, which rests on a “dripping” golden stand), attendees could also wander upstairs to check out the museum’s various exhibits.
The tome is packed with over 1,000 photos of the star, including never-before-seen snaps from her childhood in Barbados, her tours, her family vacations and more. In addition to the $150 standard copy of the book and the aforementioned “Luxury Supreme” edition, there’s also a $175 “Fenty x Phaidon” edition that comes with a steel stand inspired by Rihanna’s own hands, along with the sold-out “Ultra Luxury Supreme” version displayed on a marble pedestal; Cardi B bid on, and won, the latter for $111,000 at Rihanna’s Diamond Ball in September.
The bad gal herself arrived at the bash shortly after 9 p.m. — dressed in a leopard-print Saint Laurent dress, tall burgundy boots and over $100,00 worth of David Webb jewels — and was instantly mobbed by hundreds of screaming fans.
Surrounded by security and seemingly unfazed despite the chaos, she made a single, long loop around the museum’s lobby, hugging and high-fiving multiple members of her Navy as she slowly inched through the crowd.
As Rihanna took her victory lap, those less willing to fight their way into the fray — including various publishing execs, fashion insiders and a relaxed-looking Lena Waithe — retreated up the museum’s spiral ramp or lounged by the lobby’s fountain.
Eventually (and with some difficulty), the Grammy winner was whisked into the elevator and up to the fourth floor for a brief break from the madness before reappearing on the ramp just above the lobby about half an hour later. There, she delivered a short speech thanking her publisher Phaidon and her Navy, along with the various team members and friends who helped make the project possible.
“I just gave Phaidon a USB filled with pictures and said, ‘Here you go!'” she recalled. “And they said, ‘We’ll make art.'”
Art worthy of displaying in the hallowed halls of the Guggenheim, no less.