'It hasn't quite sunk in yet!' said a buoyant Adam Selman at the presentation of his first ever eponymous collection. The designer is the man behind Rihanna's most memorable outfits and worked with the singer on her collection with River Island - but now he's doing it alone. Yes, tonight in New York, Selman unveiled his creations for Spring Summer 2014 and Grazia Daily was amongst the eager fash pack who squeezed into a gallery in the very hip West Village to witness his New York Fashion Week debut. Would Rihanna make an appearance too?
'The collection is based around Francesco Scavullo's Cosmopolitan covers from the '70s and '80s as well as a 1981 HBO special on supermodels called Beautiful Baby, Beautiful,' Selman tells us. 'So I decided to do a photoshoot set for the presentation with photographers in the front and the models posing on stage'.
There was certainly a strong retro vibe to the whole shebang. The models sauntered in and out with the easy, breezy air of a '70s beauty parlour meets boudoir. It was difficult to tell where the backstage ended and the catwalk began as the girls were preened before our very eyes then struck a sultry pose. We watched as their hair was coiffed and the bold eye makeup was slathered on, transforming them into vintage-tastic pin-ups - but the up-to-there shorts, racy crop tops and silky hockey jerseys added a dollop of that Rihanna-esque sexpot edge.
Adam Selman Spring Summer 2014 [Grazia_Live]
Although Selman did talk to Rihanna about the collection, she wasn't the main muse. 'I was inspired by Jerry Hall, Margot Hemingway and also Jen Brill who's my creative director [and former girlfriend of Terry Richardson],' says Selman. 'I added elements of how I dress too, like throwing on a T-shirt with jeans as a uniform then adding a bandana as a belt.' Indeed, the collection is all about easy dressing. Delicate camisoles with flirty tie straps and skirts with a cheeky slit are decidedly feminine, but the hockey jerseys and utilitarian jackets provide a sporty contrast to all that sensuality.
That's not to say Selman doesn't hope to see Ri-Ri working his collection. 'I would love to see Rihanna wearing it! But it's less about having a celeb fave wearing my clothes and more about seeing real women walking down the street in them. I'd be like, "Damn girl, you've got it!"'
Adam Selman and Rihanna at the River Island show in February [River Island]
Of course, Selman isn't a stranger to fashion week, having presented the Rihanna for River Island collection with the lady herself during London Fashion Week back in February. So how does showing in New York differ to London? 'The London show was on a much bigger scale. I wanted this to have a more intimate and easier feel so I don't feel as much pressure this time. From that experience, I also learned how the system works and what it takes to make it happen.'
And now it has happened, there's no one prouder than Selman's parents, who mingled with the fashion editors at tonight's event. 'They came all the way from Texas,' Selman tells us when we catch sight of their beaming faces. 'It's so sweet! I enticed my brother by saying there's going to be lots of girls in bikinis so he's here too.' See, who needs Rihanna?