Bucket hats can be powerful things.
So powerful, in fact, that they managed to bring Rihanna, rapper Wale, NBA star Kevin Durant and Humberto Leon together under one roof on a Monday night. The woman of the hour was Melissa Forde, who has spent most of her life ceding the spotlight to childhood best friend Rihanna, and is responsible for taking many of the pictures of the pop star on Instagram. But on Monday, everyone gathered to celebrate M$$ X WT, a collection of bucket hats she designed.
Forde is the creative director of Wrkng Title, a hat company founded by Wale which focused primarily on snapbacks and beanies until he approached Forde about getting involved. This is the first Wrkng Title collection she has designed and the first to be available outside of the company's site; Opening Ceremony is selling it exclusively online and at its New York and Los Angeles locations. "I was wearing bucket hats at the time that Wale asked me to design for his company," Forde said on Monday night at the collection's debut party at Opening Ceremony's Howard Street store. "I just feel like everything always comes full circle, it's very '90s, like LL Cool J, Missy Elliot — I hope it takes awhile before it goes back out," she added, laughing.
"It's not only just a bucket hat, it's the perfect bucket hat," said Humberto Leon, co-founder of Opening Ceremony. "Melissa really worked on the fit, the size of the brim, the way it folds up, the branding. It's exciting to see her make these hats and really be excited and almost nerd out about what the perfect bucket hat is."
Rihanna showed up to support her loyal friend, though she missed Durant and Wale, the latter of whom evaded this reporter's efforts to interview him when he snuck out early to perform a surprise show elsewhere in the city. It seemed like everyone was holding their breath for Rihanna to arrive, and when she finally did — wearing a pink pineapple hat, and repping that Dior contract with a Raf Simons coat and Christian Dior boots — she directed the tireless swarm of photographers and fans, myself included, towards her friend and a wall of hats displaying the collection. Dancing and preening for the cameras, the two women are experts at building buzz. This time, however, Forde is in the driver's seat.