Designer-corseted Madonna back on Paris stage

1st September 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 1 (AFP) - When spiritually-reborn "Material Girl" Madonna hits the stage in the world's couture capital from Wednesday, style gurus are likely to be out in force to appraise exactly what she's wearing.

PARIS, Sept 1 (AFP) - When spiritually-reborn "Material Girl" Madonna hits the stage in the world's couture capital from Wednesday, style gurus are likely to be out in force to appraise exactly what she's wearing.  

Faithful to her reputation as global fashionista icon, Madonna, who recently changed her name to Esther after converting to Kabbalah, has called on the top names in fashion to design the costumes for her current "Re-Invention" world tour - Christian Lacroix, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, Stella McCartney etc.  

In Paris, where she was originally due to play two nights, 15,000 tickets sold out in only 30 minutes for the opening show and organisers added two concerts. Her four concerts are totally sold out, with some holders offering seats on the Internet for sums of EUR 200 up.  

But then Madonna, now 46, has been wowing crowds and setting fashion trends for two decades, from raunchy sex-symbol to hippie-style earth-mother.   Big names such as Prada or Dolce and Gabbana have cashed in on her name, as have little known designers such as Belgian Olivier Theyskens, who first won fame when she turned out for the Oscars sporting one of his creations.  

Stella McCartney, one of her friends, designed the once-in-a-lifetime dress for her wedding with Guy Ritchie, which was both a good deed and a good plug.   In 1990 for her Blond Ambition Tour she turned Jean-Paul Gaultier into a household name because of his conicle-cupped corset.  

Houses that succeed in getting Madonna - or even better Madonna plus daughter Lourdes - into the front row for their catwalk collections, such as Gaultier or Versace, know the paparazzi will fly into a frenzy, ensuring plenty of media footage for the label.  

"She remains a strong fashion icon because she's got a real fashion culture and knows what she wants," Patrick Cabasset, deputy editor of fashion magazine L'Official, told AFP.  

"She's a chameleon with as much feeling for her image as someone like (designer) Jean-Paul Gaultier or  Jean-Baptiste Mondino", he added.  

"If you were to give her a mark for either just being or keeping up appearances, you'd give her 100 percent for keeping up appearances. She's first and foremost just image, despite the fact that nowadays she wants to show she has soul by writing children's books and taking up spirituality."  

In September, with the world tour behind her, Esther/Madonna plans a pilgrimage to Israel in observance of her new Kabbalah faith and in recent concerts castigates war, or sings John Lennon's "Imagine" to images of an Israeli and a Palestinian child walking side by side.  

The pop diva began looking into Kabbalah - or at least a modern version of it - in 1997, and is now one of its most high-profile proponents. Jewish symbols and Hebrew letters feature in recent videos, and she is rarely seen without the trademark red string around her wrist to ward off the evil eye.  

Yet "Re-Invention", her first world tour since 2001, features lots of quite earthly garb.   In European concerts ahead of the Paris stops, Madonna has stepped out in black hotpants, a sequinned silver top and knee-high black boots.  

French couturier Christian Lacroix has specially designed a tight pale pink satin corset, a rembroidered gold-leaf-covered number inspired by a Lacroix red wedding dress she squeezed into for a series of pictures for the US "W" magazine last year.  

"She wanted a corset that was a little more flexible for the dance numbers but that visually looked like the fitted whalebone original," the couturier said.




Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article