Why Rihanna Favorite Adam Selman Isn't Interested in Dressing Celebs

The man who's partnered with RiRi, Rita Ora and Lorde just wants to dress the downtown girl.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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The man who's partnered with RiRi, Rita Ora and Lorde just wants to dress the downtown girl.
Adam Selman with Rihanna after his spring 2015 show. Photo: Kevin Tachman/Getty Images

Adam Selman with Rihanna after his spring 2015 show. Photo: Kevin Tachman/Getty Images

When I met designer Adam Selman after his spring '15 runway show, he had just finished taking a selfie with Rihanna. The singer and Selman's longtime collaborator showed up to congratulate her friend after most of the audience had gone, and wearing a pearl-adorned babydoll dress from the just-debuted collection, it was easy to see how genuinely proud she was of him. And with all that he's accomplished in the last 12 months, it's hard not to be.

Selman debuted his eponymous collection at New York Fashion Week one year ago, and to celebrate the milestone, the designer opted to hold a proper runway show for the first time instead of a presentation. "I feel like I needed to step up my game and I needed a new challenge," he told Fashionista. "I’ve been doing costume design and custom work for so long and this is more of a statement of what I really wanted to make."

His 24-look collection was delightfully retro. Initially inspired by Harumi Yamaguchi and her ‘80s airbrush art (and by smeared makeup), the looks were fresh and unfussy, much like the girl Selman hopes to design for. He used tweed to create a cropped jacket, mini skirt and dresses in modern shapes to keep them from looking too prim, and used breezy linen to create high-waisted "jeans," oversized jackets and one very cozy looking pair of white overalls. The looks were sweetly styled with Converse, visors adorned with tied scarves and cat-eye sunglasses, which are the result of Selman's collaboration with Le Specs.

Models walked the runway with numbered cards, stopping mid-runway to pose to the synthy electro-pop soundtrack. "[It was] a play on those old Parisian shows, but done in a super downtown, New York way. Like, 'Do you want to buy this dress? You do!'"

Whether he likes it or not, Selman's biggest claim to fame thus far is the hand-crafted Swarovski crystal gown that Rihanna wore to accept her CFDA Award in June, but he did give a nod to it in his collection in the form of a pearl illusion mini dress and tank top. The designer is aware that he's mainly known for his work with celebrities — he just outfitted Lorde's tour — but dressing famous people isn't a priority of his. "I really have a great team, and I’m more interested in dressing real girls and girls close to me moreso than celebrities." We have a feeling both camps will be flocking to shop this collection once it arrives next spring.