Rihanna, Henry Holland and co launch ‘fashion’s biggest gig’

Rihanna, Henry Holland, Nicola Roberts and Lysa Cooper explain all as their new show prepares to air

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'Fashion and music go hand-in-hand. I want something fresh and original so I’m looking for the next trend-setting designer’ Rihanna says of her imminent Styled to Rock show in which 12 budding designers dress a popstar collective of Cheryl Cole, Katy Perry, Rizzle Kicks, Scissor Sisters, Little Mix and Tinchy Strider in a bid to win the prize of dressing Rihanna on stage. ‘We’re hoping to find the next superstar designer to dress superstars’ she adds, ‘this is the biggest fashion gig’.

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And as all good gigs have an entourage, it was left to Rihanna’s panel of mentors to promote to the Sky Living show yesterday in London.

House of Holland’s Henry Holland, ex Girls Aloud Nicola Roberts and Rihanna’s stylist Lysa Cooper are the team on the ground guiding the designers through the treacherous area of dressing celebrities, and they should know.

‘You’re dressing popstars who don’t dress safe’ says Nicola Roberts, ‘but you need to feel as comfortable as possible. The designer needs to get in to the head of the artist so that they feel ready to perform but also, there’s a fanbase out there that you need to connect with. It’s not like dressing a model.

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Think about the X Factor and how much reaction the outfits get before they’ve even opened their mouths’ says the girl who won Popstars: The Rivals in 2002.

‘There’s specific technical things that you need to take in to account’, agrees Henry Holland, ‘they had to create for different occasions, so sometimes it would be a press junket or a red carpet, where you don’t need them to be able to walk. But on the flipside there’s a performance artist who needs stage-wear and structural things and flesh coloured tights’. Yes, flesh-coloured tights. And you thought the music business was glamorous.

But how do artists cope with dancing in 6” heels? ‘Whitney Houston said that if you don’t sweat, the audience doesn’t think you’re working hard enough’, says Lysa Cooper, ‘they want to see you mean it’.

Rihanna met the final 50 designers on a recent trip to London. Her stylist Lysa Cooper credits her rise to style icon on her willingness to experiment. ‘Rihanna dresses for the moment, how she feels... her style comes from the heart and I think she’s at that age where you experiment... because you’re 24 and you can’.

‘Her style shows that she’s never put on anything that someone else has told her to’, says firm friend Henry. ‘She’s not fixated on one thing so it never gets boring’ adds Nicola.

Thousands applied for the apprenticeship and the trip hope to launch new design talent in to the industry. Henry confirmed that one show graduate was working at his design studio already. ‘Watch your back Stella, we have 12 young budding designers’ he says.

Watch Styled to Rock from 9:00pm on 14 August on Sky Living.

See how Rihanna's style has evolved

Catch up on more Styled to Rock news here

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