Rihanna’s Super Bowl outfit ‘puts Northern Ireland on world stage’

Rihanna performing at halftime show

Rihanna used her flight-inspired red outfit to announce her pregnancy

Rihanna’s half-time Super Bowl performance has put “a little bit of Northern Ireland and Magherafelt” on a global stage.

That’s according to former Ireland rugby captain and proud dad, Willie Anderson.

His fashion designer son Jonathan created the singer’s red outfit, which he used to announce her pregnancy.

“Back in my day, people used to ask him if he was Willie Anderson’s son. People now ask me if I’m Jonathan Anderson’s dad,” he told BBC News NI.

Jonathan, from Magherafelt, in County Londonderry, is creative director at luxury Spanish fashion house, Loewe, and founder of his own label JW Anderson.

He was invited to Arizona, where the NFL final was played between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, along with a number of others to design an outfit for the pop star, Willie said.

“He didn’t get any feedback from them and we were just texting him, ‘What about Rihanna? Is she going to wear it?’, and he didn’t know at all.

“Both of us got a call in the middle of the night and it was Jonathan in tears of happiness to say to say that he had worn his outfit.”

Jonathan’s mum Heather said it was “more in shock than anything” when he called.

“At half past one in the morning I was fast asleep when he called and by the emotion, at first I thought something was wrong because I’d forgotten about the Super Bowl,” she said.

“He just said, ‘Get it on, get it on, she’s wearing it, she’s wearing my outfit’.”

JW Anderson at London Fashion Week 2017

The Magherafelt native’s designs have featured on catwalks across the globe

In a statement on Loewe’s Instagram account, Jonathan said: “I’m so excited to have been a part of this unforgettable moment.

“Rihanna is a true icon, and working with her to bring these stage looks to life feels like a wild, wonderful dream.”

Willie, who won 27 caps for Ireland and went on to coach at Ulster, Scotland, Leinster and London Irish, said he and his wife “were both so touched and so emotional”, seeing their son’s design on screen.

“Just to think at least 200 million people were watching a little bit of Northern Ireland and Magherafelt on the stage that he had a hand in, it was just overwhelming,” he said.

“It was absolutely unbelievable. From our point of view, we are so proud and so delighted for him because he is a genius.

“He’s well regarded in the fashion industry throughout the world and the great thing about Jonathan is that he has kept his feet on the ground very much, that’s what we love about him.

“As much as he’s the designer, he’s still just Jonathan Anderson, he’s still just our Jonny.”

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