Dior presented the first of the Secret Garden video series for Spring 2012, shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and starring Daria Strokous. For this fourth installment from Steven Klein, shot inside Versailles, it was the turn of Barbadian superstar Rihanna to showcase the Pre-Fall 2015 collection.

Rihanna is the new high-profile ambassador of Dior following the A-List celebrities like Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Marion Cotillard and Jennifer Lawrence.

If you wonder what drew Dior to Rihanna and how the restless pop star could fit in with its current shortlist, Dior chief executive officer Sidney Toledano explains at WWD: “Jennifer is also edgy, I think. They understand. They’re smart. In this short movie, [Rihanna] knew how to work with Versailles. She has this kind of elegance — we saw it from the very first moment — and then she can surprise. She can be unexpected and we like it. It’s part of this personality.”

Rihanna has made multiple appearances at Raf Simons’ Dior runway shows and is also a fan of his collection. 

Styled by Mel Ottenberg, with whom she routinely works, the campaign shows Rihanna walking the gardens of the Château de Versailles in a scarlet dress, carrying the Diorama bag, from the Espirit Dior collection presented in Tokyo December 2014. The nighttime film follows her through the Salons of the Gods and dancing in the Hall of Mirrors, to the sound of Only If For A Night produced by Midas, set to be the intro to her next album.

Versailles is a place with strong historical links to Dior, with the designer himself drawing inspiration from its imposing architecture in the Fifties.
The campaign makes Rihanna the first black woman to front the house: it’s a positive statement for a brand that’s both historic and innovative. 

Toledano also spoke of Rihanna’s youth appeal. “She is a goddess but accessible. The way she moves is part of the young generation.”

For Rihanna, being asked to star in the campaign was a momentous occasion. “It feels fantastic,” Rihanna told MTV when news of her casting broke. “It is such a big deal for me, for my culture, for a lot of young girls of any colour. I think, to be acknowledged by Dior is just… it means a lot as a woman to feel beautiful, and elegant, and timeless.”



Ada Nikolaou