Rihanna performed her new song, “We Found Love,” on an episode of the British edition of The X Factor in London last night. After a particularly raunchy performance on the show during its run last year led to complaints from staid British viewers, she’d reportedly been asked to tone down her look by X Factor producers — so she chose a tartan McQ dress, black tights, and a pair of shoes designed by Ashish Gupta in collaboration with the British footwear label Underground.
The black, chunky creeper shoes come with a white-ink pen, with which wearers can doodle on their shoes. Among other things, Rihanna (or, more likely, someone on her styling team) decided to write “fuck off” on one shoe in large capital letters. The phrase was apparently visible to those in front row seats, who all gasped and pointed in shock and awe and consternation. British tabloid The Sun quotes one fan, 18-year-old Lucy Morgan: “I was shocked. She’s a rebel.” An X Factor spokesperson said, however, that “there were no close-up shots of Rihanna’s shoes [aired on TV]. We believe the performance was suitable.” It obviously could have been much worse: Ri-Ri could have worn one of her profanity-laden necklaces.