In what some observers are calling a provocative fashion statement of female empowerment, Rihanna finally surfaced publicly at the Costume Institute Gala at the Met Museum in New York on Monday night.

She wore a Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo that featured enormous puffed sleeves and cropped slim pants.

Is this mannish pantsuit a "Don't You Mess With Me Again" message to Chris Brown? Those huge shoulders are a bit threatening. Even her wide stance seems to be an almost confrontational posture.

Or is it just a PR-style stunt to make her look like she's standing strong and not going back to Brown?

What do you think?

Check out all the hot gowns on Madonna, Blake Lively, Eva Longoria, Anne Hathaway, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, Kate Hudson – and more -  at the Met Costume Gala.

More Chris Brown and Rihanna dish:

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Was Rihanna mad about Chris Brown's cougar booty call?

Oprah warns Rihanna: 'He will hit you again'

Rihanna can legally tape record Chris Brown's phone calls? This should be good

Chris Brown, Rihanna back together working it out at Diddy's Miami home

Harvey Levin defends TMZ's use of Rihanna assault photo

Rihanna's dad calls leaked police photo 'terrible and disturbing'

Photo credits: WireImage

Posted by:Elizabeth Snead