Confessions on a sales floor from Madonna
Madonna, petite in a white jersey 1940s dress of her own design, has a confession, but it is not about the range of black, white and neutral clothes that she has designed for the Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M.
Madonna’s secret is that she has been working for two years on the archive of her performance and personal clothes, which are stashed away in California and are currently being classified.
“I’m thinking of doing a 25-year retrospective multimedia, with video and photographs of me by Mario Testino, Herb Ritts, Steven Klein and Steven Meisel,” Madonna says.
She adds that she also wants to “celebrate all the designers” like Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix who have created exceptional pieces for her.”
From an article by Suzy Menkes, International Herald Tribune.
Madonna, 48, was launching her “M by Madonna” line in the cool-but- cozy Artesian bar, designed by Tom Collins, at London’s Langham hotel. The H&M collection goes on sale Thursday and is already worn by the pop diva herself, on vast billboards across town.
As fashion spectaculars go, this was a discreet affair, with the sophomore designer knotting the belt of a trench coat and tweaking its collar as she unveiled this first line of ready-to-wear pieces – following the track suit she created for H&M last year.
“I didn’t want to do a gigantic line of clothes and I wanted to keep the color palette simple,” said Madonna of the black, white and neutral range. “I did the track suit because that is what I want to work out. These are clothes I want to wear and wish to keep on. I have a group of girls who work for me I call ‘Semtex girls’ (read ‘explosive’) who are hard-working but who like to have fun. There is nothing in this collection about the stage, theater and drama.”
Price is the key to the 26-piece line of slim dresses, cropped jackets and pants, with a bunch of accessories (including a wide patent leather corset belt). Madonna’s little white jersey dress, with a girlish raised waist and softly puffed sleeves (inspired from a find in her closet), sells for $59.90. A leather jacket is top-of-the-range at $198, but you can buy a “very Madonna” belted blazer for $69.90 and for $10 more, a denim zippered top. Jeans, at $59, are way below premium prices.
Accessories do not include Madonna’s favorite French beret, but there is a turban hat, as well as bold hide-behind sunglasses and handbags. The corset belt, in mock crocodile, sells for $34.90. The “M” collection will be in all H&M stores in 28 countries carrying women’s clothes.
Looking at the lineup of nice but unremarkable clothes (which, of course, look much more fab in the ad campaign, when it is Madonna’s well-honed body filling out a curvy white shirt and pencil skirt), it is hard to imagine why such an icon of pop culture wants to reach out to her adoring public with clothes as well as music.
The singer, who says “it wasn’t new for me to be on the floor with pins,” says that she was involved in the design, had fittings done on herself and believes that “it is not a job to take lightly.”
Margareta van den Bosch, H&M’s head of design, said that Madonna “showed me part of her wardrobe” as the basis of the taste and style, and that the star was very much involved in the project. Madonna said that she was inspired from her closet by “a certain kind of pencil skirt,” “bits of details” and vintage clothes that she has collected since she appeared in the 1985 movie “Desperately Seeking Susan.”
“I wanted it to be unique and simple at the same time,” said Madonna, while admitting that it was tougher than she had expected, after years of involvement in her stage wardrobe, to “design clothes anyone can wear.”
“My day job includes fashion – but I am not sure I’d want to design clothes,” she says. “I have a new-found respect for designers.”