Last week, Rihanna and Calvin Harris dropped the video for "This Is What You Came For," which features a lot of bright lights, a mysterious white cube, and, most important, Rihanna in a glittery jumpsuit.
Rihanna's look — the only one she wears the entire video, by the way — comes courtesy of designer Isabel Hall, a 2016 Pratt graduate who got the attention of Rihanna's stylist, Mel Ottenberg, with her senior thesis collection.
MTV News chatted with the very recent graduate about how her jumpsuit ended up on Rihanna, where it is now, and what comes next.
MTV: Hi! Congratulations — it must be so cool to see your work on Rihanna, in a video. Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the jumpsuit?
Izzi Hall: Yeah, well, it started with the whole collection, which took a whole year for our senior thesis. I was originally looking at sports and '90s skaters, and I wanted to take the masculine silhouette and put it on a female figure without losing any of the shape or attitude and then find the crossover in the fabrications, and that's how the glitter fabric came to be... It's so cool because the glitter is woven into it. It's not on it or applied. It was awesome and so easy. And the mesh is so comfy, too, so I knew I had to hold onto it.
I did all the socks for my collection that went with the sneakers in the glitter fabric and I did a pair of boxer shorts, which was the original idea. Then we were fitting those and I was talking with my teachers, and they said, "I think it needs more of a showcase. It really illustrates the difference between the masculine and the feminine. What can we do?"
So I was like, "Why don’t we do a full jumpsuit?" It started there, and I thought about the shape I wanted and the bagginess and I was thinking about if you could do a full-body sweatshirt, hoodie-vibe with the drawstring and everything. And the idea is that there’s no closure. It's so easy to wear and so oversize [that] anybody can wear it. It's just comfortable. You just open the cowl-neck and you can pull it all the way over your shoulders, like you'd pull on a pair of pants.
MTV: Oh, yeah, I was wondering —
Hall: Yeah, there's no closure to it at all. But then once you pull the drawstring and tie it, it's on, and you get this fantastic, massive shape and you're bathed in glitter, and it's so elegant and glamorous. It's the ease of all that clothing, but with the glamour of womenswear. You get that contrast. It's a really nice crossover piece for the collection, so that's how it came about.
MTV: Yeah, it looks so cool, both in the runway photos I saw and in the video. Do you know how it ended up in the video?
Hall: Yeah, it was awesome, actually. I interned for Adam Selman, who works with Rihanna and Mel [Ottenberg] a lot, and who is super sweet and supportive and is amazing, and he saw my collection when it was finally finished, and I think he knew Mel would be into the jumpsuit and some other pieces also. So he was like, "Yeah, we'll put this out, we'll see what we can do." Mel came to the show — Pratt really wanted him to come, especially since he had pulled pieces from Giovanna's collection the year before and used those on Rihanna.
So they came together, and Mel pulled a few pieces and was interested in other people as well and saw the jumpsuit. He pulled it for a different project originally and then returned it. Then I got a text at, like, 8 p.m. one night from Mel's assistant asking, "Hey, are you in town? We are really interested in using that jumpsuit for something else, but we need it right away. Can we get that from you?" And I was like, "Yeah! Totally!" and I was just sitting at home on my couch.
They got it and I didn't know what they were doing with it, but I didn't really want to ask, especially because you never know if stuff like this is going to work out. So the next week they told me they had used it and I could come pick it whenever, and when I got there I asked what they had used it for, and that’s when they told me about the video.
MTV: That’s so awesome. Did you have any idea it was the only thing Rihanna wears in the video?
Hall: Yeah, I got a text that was like, "Rihanna wore it, whole video," and I was like, "Oh my god."
MTV: Wow, yeah, that’s amazing. So you have the jumpsuit back in your possession?
Hall: Yep, I have it. Right now it's the only one, and I had no idea it'd ever be this big, so it's hanging at the end of my bed in a garment bag with the rest of my pieces, just chilling there.
MTV: Wow. That’s the dream. What has the reaction been like? Have other people reached out to you?
Hall: Yeah, it's been mostly just press, which is fantastic, because I'm just out of college. A lot of people who I don't know followed me on Instagram and have been commenting on the image, "I don't know you but it's fantastic to see a young designer get a spotlight like this." After working on this collection for a year and a half and having so much control and then having to let it go — you’re literally, up until the last minute, adjusting things, making sure every girl looks exactly the way you want — and then they walk out and it's done, and you have to wait to hear what people think.
To have something like this happen is so validating. I feel so lucky, and it's definitely a confidence boost... For me, it's just a body of work that represents me as a designer, and you're not looking for it to go in any particular direction at that point. It's crazy to get such a positive reaction.
MTV: Yeah, I imagine that’s the best reaction you could really hope for. Do you have any plans for designing in the future? What's next?
Hall: Right now is the first time I've had free time in a year, so I'm just looking for jobs and seeing what my options are right out of college. I'm working on a collaboration with a good friend of mine right now, and we were both like, "Yeah, we want to keep making stuff. We don’t feel done at all."
We decided to do it together and just make more pieces. We have a bunch of friends who did photo, and who can model, and I just want to keep going. I'm not necessarily trying to start a brand name, but definitely want to keep generating pieces and putting work out there and see what happens. Now is the time.
Watch the jumpsuit in all its glittery glory, above.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.