No one knows how to “fashion” a comeback like Madonna.
Throughout the veteran music and cultural icon’s three-decade spanning career, she never lets any component of her visual or musical legacy go unchecked. When things go stale, she revamps them. If she doesn’t know how, she hires someone else to do it for her. Now faced with accusations of falling victim to a middle-aged style crisis, Madge has retaliated by recruiting the most elite names in high fashion to conceptualize and design the wardrobe for her upcoming Sticky And Sweet Tour, which will hit European and US shores just time in for the Spring 2009 Fashion Weeks. Will Madonna’s couture showmanship outperform the industry at their own game?
At her Madgesty’s behest, Miu Miu, Tom Ford, pal Stella McCartney, YSL, Roberto Cavalli, and Jeremy Scott all contributed bespoke clothing and accessories for the singer’s Hard Candy live trek. However, the “headliner” of the Sticky And Sweet fashion parade is without a doubt Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy Haute Couture, who was commissioned to provide two completely custom outfits for Madonna. Tisci jumped at the opportunity: “I feel incredibly fortunate to have been given the opportunity to offer the world of Givenchy Haute Couture to Madonna the Icon, the Artist, the Woman for whom I have so much respect and admiration”, he says.
Maintaining the religious gothic imagery that has characterized the last several Givenchy collections, Tisci specifically tailored his recent F/W 08.09 Haute Couture aesthetic to complement Madonna’s muse and to accommodate her performance needs. Inspired, he created looks to fit Madge’s prescribed “art deco/gangster” and “gypsy” moods. “It’s a theme that runs throughout her career” Madonna’s perennial stylist Arianne Phillips says, of the imposing, dark glamour of the Givenchy ensembles. “Riccardo’s a new young talent. If you look at Madonna’s history with fashion, that makes him an obvious choice.” A designer obsessed with exploring sex, death, and religion? Yup, Madge has truly found her couturier match – after all, she also wears Givenchy in her video for “Give It 2 Me”!. Move over, Gaultier!
Yesterday, Givenchy Haute Couture issued a press release that provided a bit more insight into the details of the clothing, and truth be told, it all seems exquisite. The “Gangster Pimp” look features: a “frock coat in black stretch satin, trimmed with pleated black silk organza embroidered with jet beads” worn over a “waistcoat in black stretch satin trimmed with black silk fringes, embroidered with jet beads , and a laced up corseted back”!
Her “Gypsy” look will comprise of a “long hooded cape in black silk taffeta, lined in fuchsia silk taffeta and embroidered with jet stones”. Very Madonna circa 1998, no? At some point during this portion of the show, the cape will be removed to reveal a “dress in black stretch chiffon, trimmed with multicoloured ribbons and fuchsia coloured metal chains worn with a matching necklace”.
In addition to the dominatrix and druidess characters envisioned by Tisci, other style themes of the show include “Old School,” where Jeremy Scott‘s outfit appears accompanied by art and video direction that will evince hip-hop-and graffiti flavored 80s NYC street culture. The final section of the performance will feature “a futuristic rave section with lots of Japanese influences”. Wonder who is the design mastermind behind that one? (Hussein Chalayan? Comme des Garçons?)
Madonna will certainly give fashionistas and pop music addicts their money’s worth this tour (so stop complaining about the ticket prices!), but will she outdo the spectacle of the Spring 2009 presentations? As someone who lives and breathes fashion and music with equal intensity, it’s hard to say where I’d rather be this fall. Oh fine – I choose Fashion Week. But only because Hard Candy leaves me a little cold and because I’ve had Fashion Week planned for months!
How about you? Would you rather see Madonna in concert or attend Fashion Week?
Photo credits: Givenchy Haute Couture/PR Newscorp.