Dressing the hottest star on the style block is triumph for any designer but when said star's boyfriend wears a matching design too, you're onto a double whammy. That's exactly what happened to Christopher Shannon when first Rihanna then Chris Brown showcased his printed menswear sweaters.
Rihanna in Christopher Shannon
The innovative London-based designer re-worked his archived prints on to a range of sports inspired jersey pieces including T-shirts, sweatshirts, track pants and vests - and it seems the US singers have taken a fancy to them. It started in Philadelphia when Ri-Ri posted a snap onto her Instagram account during her Diamonds World Tour. Not adverse to wearing menswear, she looked more ghetto cool than ever wearing a black beanie from Wa$ted Money, Wayfarer Sunglasses from Ray Ban and Christopher Shannon's 'Kidda Sweat' covered in a chain print. The sweater instantly sold out.
Weeks later and Rihanna's on-off bloke Chris was spotted in New York rocking another version of Christopher Shannon's Kidda sweater - this time adorned with a crest print. He teamed the look with a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti Homme Sneakers and a white baseball cap worn backwards. Hmm, have the duo been sharing sartorial tips? We turned to Mr Shannon himself, a graduate from the prestigious Central St Martins MA Menswear course, to find out...
Grazia Daily: How did it come about that Rihanna wore your design?
Christopher Shannon: It's usually a bit of back and forth. Her stylists will ask for pieces or when she's in town, she'll call by the showrooms and pick pieces out. We always have music stylists making requests for different things.
Grazia Daily: How did you first find out Rihanna had worn your design?
Christopher Shannon: I imagine it was through Twitter - that's how I usually see things because it's so fast and immediate. I am a MASSIVE Rihanna fan so I was really pleased. It's not often I can think of people I really want to wear the clothes but I thinks she's brilliant. Also my team are massive fans so it was a good way to start the week. The sweater has sold out and we haven't any more which is a pity.
Grazia Daily: What's your verdict on the way she styled the look?
Christopher Shannon: She always looks pretty great. She seems to have a real ease with herself and her body. That sort of confidence makes you look pretty ace in anything.
Grazia Daily: How do you rate Rihanna's style in general?
Christopher Shannon: A few seasons ago, we sort of half mused her for the collection. It was after she performed 'What's My Name' on the X Factor. I'd not taken much notice of her performances before and was completely blown away. She has her own beat and has a silhouette which is so identifiable, also she is isn't afraid to cover up and wear loads of clothes too and I think that is refreshing. It's that ease again.
Chris Brown in Christopher Shannon
Grazia Daily: What other stars have you been excited to see wearing your pieces?
Christopher Shannon: Jake Bugg wore some pieces this week that looked great - again, I think he's one of the few talented people around and I have been listening to the album a fair bit. He wore a really soft black leather shirt which looked great. Rita Ora has a few bits and Rizzle Kicks are always out and about in the printed track pants.
Grazia Daily: Is there anyone you dream of dressing?
Christopher Shannon: I never really think about it - it's more a result of the work I do than a goal. There are people I would like to work with in some way, styling music videos or shoots. I've always really rated Vanessa Paradis and I think you can do really interesting imagery with Lana Del Rey - they both have their own narrative. I would have really loved to have worked with Amy Winehouse - I think she was the real deal and one of the best talents we've had for decades.
Christopher Shannon is stocked at ASOS and Liberty
Grazia Daily: Why do you think printed sweaters are so popular right now?
Christopher Shannon: They seem to always be around in some form. I think ours have taken off as the prints are quite overbearing and usually all over. I always like the content to relate back to luxury or iconic identities but for the pieces to be really accessible, the sort of sweater you wear non stop for ages then leave at the back of the wardrobe, then when you find it again it cheers you up.
Grazia Daily: Finally, what are you working on at the moment?
Christopher Shannon: Spring Summer 2014 mainline collection is on the go, KIDDA Spring Summer 2014 is just being sampled too. We've designed the Kickers X CS footwear for the show in June and we have also worked on another accessories collab which we will announce around the same time, and our first online shop to come later in the summer. So loads!
See more of Rihanna's style hits in the gallery below >>