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The Story Behind Madonna’s Red Carpet Gucci Suit at the Billboard Women in Music Awards

Madonna has long been a trailblazer in music and fashion, and earlier this week she pulled a first of the most irreverent kind by twerking for James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke. The singer took her place at the top of a list of seriously talented artists on the red carpet of the Billboard Women in Music awards in New York City today, where she was honored as Woman of the Year. The legendary performer loves to push the envelope with her style—remember the custom Givenchy number she wore to this year’s Met Gala or her homage to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards in May?—and her new latest look didn’t disappoint. Stylist Arianne Phillips worked with Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele on the highly graphic suit which featured a distinctive flora and fauna motif, and a hidden message. “[The suit was] made more special with embroidery that means ‘the Greek goddess of music that brings joy,’ ” said Phillips.

Raising the bar on her ensemble were equally dazzling jewels: earrings from Sarah Hendler, rings from Jacob & Co., Lynn Ban and Nol Jewellers, bracelets by Eddie Borgo, and a drop necklace from Bulgari. As Phillips put it, they were “perfect for such a momentous honor befitting the Queen of Pop herself.”

Vogue

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Arianne Phillips opens up about working with Madonna

Arianne Phillips is the Academy Award-nominated costume designer behind Walk the Line and A Single Man. Yet it is the nearly 20 years she has spent working as a stylist to Madonna, spanning countless TV and red carpet appearances and six tours, including the 2016 Rebel Heart Tour, for which the 53-year-old is best known. Phillips, who cites the 1998 “Frozen” video, the 2000 “Don’t Tell Me” video and the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards as three of her favorite style moments, says that working with Madonna is both rewarding and challenging: ”She’s an artist who’s seen by the world.”

Walk us through the process of putting together Madonna’s tour wardrobe.
Madonna and I usually start talking four to five months before a tour. I work with a big crew — just the prep side alone can reach 25 people — because it’s not just Madonna. There are also 20 dancers, two backup singers, a band and often she has specialty performers. read more →

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Madonna is 4th on Forbes’ Highest-Paid Musicians of 2016 List

#1 Taylor Swift – $170 million
#2 One Direction – $110 million
#3 Adele – $80.5 million
#4 Madonna – $76.5 million

Rebel Heart Tour grossed $140 million, bringing career total on the road to $1.4 billion pretax; made additional millions on perfume and clothing.

Madonna Forbes' List

Forbes

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A Look at Madonna before the Fame in New Photo Book

In 1983, before she became the cultural icon that she is today, Madonna lived in a walk-up on East 4th Street. In between going out almost every night, she was waitressing and posing nude for art students to pay the bills for her aspiring music career.

Photographer Richard Corman was first introduced to the then 24-year-old through his mother Cis, a casting director at the time for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ. When Madonna auditioned for the role of Mary Magdalene (unsuccessfully), Cis saw in her an “absolute original.”

Madonna

These photographs were taken before the release of Madonna’s debut album, just a month before her unprecedented ascension into stardom. Corman captures the raw beauty of a star teeming with potential, on the verge of becoming pop music’s biggest icon, through 66 previously unpublished polaroids that are seeing the light after having been lost for decades. Madonna 66 will be shown as a book, website, film, installation, and social media project—a “360-degree approach to a raw little polaroid,” in the words of the photographer.

Here, Richard Corman reflects on Madonna’s inimitable style, the art of polaroid photography, and the creative, palpable energy of downtown Manhattan in the ’80s.

Describe your first encounter with Madonna.

Richard Corman Madonna made sure I called her prior to entering the building on East 4th Street because the crew on her stoop would not have let me through without her say so. When I approached the building, I told those outside I was a friend of Madonna and the seas parted. I heard M yelling over the banister from the 4th floor to come on up. When I looked up from the first floor and encountered those piercing cat-like eyes I knew that something special awaited on the 4th floor. Indeed as I walked in, she served me espresso on a silver-plated tray with bazooka bubble gum…so raw, so real, so sexy, so much fun. read more →

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Warren Beatty looks back at dating Madonna

“She’s a huge personality, diligent and disciplined and a spectacular dancer and performer,” he says in this week’s issue of PEOPLE. “She’s a phenomenon.”

The pair first connected during filming for Beatty’s 1991 comic-book movie, Dick Tracy, in which Madonna was cast as the sultry lounge singer Breathless Mahoney. “She was perfect for that part,” says Beatty, whose latest film, Rules Don’t Apply, hits theaters Nov. 23.

The relationship didn’t last much beyond the premiere of Dick Tracy, and their conflicting views on life in the public eye were evident in her Truth or Dare documentary — a project Beatty, 79, did not want to be a part of at first.

“When we were going [out] and she was making the documentary Truth or Dare, I said, ‘I don’t want to be in it.’ And she said, ‘Why would I want you in it?’” Beatty recalls. But the actor eventually conceded: “I said if I can have approval, I don’t want to inhibit you.”

Madonna with Warren Beatty

In one scene in the documentary, Madonna declines to have a doctor examine her off-camera and Beatty comments that “she doesn’t want to live off-camera, much less talk.” Now, he says he found her decision to include the moment touching.

“I thought that was a kind gesture on her part because that captured how I felt,” he says. “I was kind of touched by that because I felt that I said the right thing.”

People

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Madonna asks judge if her kids can live in NY co-op without her being there

Madonna has just about anything a Material Girl might need — wealth, fame, looks and a family. But what she wants most right now is a straight answer, her lawyers say.

In an ongoing dispute with an Upper West Side co-op, Madonna is asking a Manhattan judge to give her specific guidance on whether she can allow her kids and maid to live in an apartment that she owns without her having to be there physically.

In a letter filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, Madonna’s lawyer Stuart Shaw says the lawyers for the building want to keep his client guessing about their rules so they are using legal “gamemanship” in their court papers by suggesting that the judge can — but doesn’t have to — take a stand on the issue.

The board of One West 64 Street Inc. told Madonna last year that as a result of rule changes adopted in April 2014, she would have to be “in residence” if she wanted her children, family, maid or guests to use the apartment for more than 30 days.

Madonna claims she only learned of the rule change recently.

She bought the apartment in 2008 for $7.3 million.

Madonna wants the court to define what “in residence” means.

“It’s impossible for me to be there at every moment my children or domestic employees are there,” the singer said in an affidavit filed in September. “I’d like to know how I am able to use my apartment without risking an eviction or otherwise incurring the wrath of the co-op board.”

In a letter to Supreme Court Justice Gerald Levovits, Shaw says his adversaries are trying to dissuade the court from making a ruling because, “like the sword of Democles, they used this confusion to be held over (her) head and harass and intimidate her.”

Shaw contends that if uncertainty remains, the co-op board can accuse Madonna of violating the rules and impose sanctions, including eviction.

Board lawyer Patrick Sweeney said in papers last week that the board had adopted a “garden variety” residency requirement and “no reasonable reading” of it could suggest that Madonna “must be physically present at all times such that she would be required to remove guests from her apartment if she went to the market.”

“This is a transparent attempt to interject ambiguity, where none exists, he says.

“Contrary to Defendant’s claim, this is neither histrionics, an absurdity or a canard but rather a real concern to Plaintiff which requires Court intervention,” Shaw said in his letter.

The judge is expected to rule at a later date.

Madonna once owned a larger duplex in the building, which she sold after breaking up with actor Sean Penn.

Madonna's NY apartment

New York Daily News

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Seymour Stein on Madonna

Was there a moment where your parents saw that you were successful?

They both lived to see Madonna be №1 on the charts. They were very proud of me.

When you signed Madonna, did you think she’d still be making music 30 years later?

I didn’t think about it. What people usually ask me is, Do you think she’d ever be this big? Of course not! I knew she was special.

And you met her through Mark Kamins?

Yes, I’d always befriended Mark. He was a DJ who played all sorts of weird music but somehow made it work — he was playing Faro music, mixing it with African music and making it all work. I gave him $18,000 and I told him: ‘This should be enough for you, over a period of a year or longer — don’t rush it — to make six demos.’ Madonna was the third demo he brought me. I listened to it, and I loved it.
Everyone knows this story: I heard it in the hospital, and I got so excited, I made her come to see me. No, that’s not true — even then you couldn’t make Madonna do anything unless she wanted to! She came to the hospital and we agreed on a deal right then and there. I asked her to go to her lawyers so we could draw up the papers.

Full interview at Medium.com

Madonna with Seymour Stein

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Cyndi Lauper on Madonna: “She was a Hero!”

“I thought of them with pretty great regard,” she said. (referring to Madonna, Prince and Boy George)

“[Prince’s] music has always been a part of my musical landscape, as was Madonna.”

She added: “I got to say, I fool around and say she was my evil cousin but when she did Like A prayer, my Catholic schoolgirl heart was… I loved her! She was a hero, right? She got everyone upset. That was so good. Right?”

Daily Mail

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Village Voice: Memories of Madonna

Madonna in Village Voice

Michael Musto recounted a few of his most notorious encounters with Madonna for the latest issue of Village Voice:

In the early 1980s, I found myself on a double bill with a rising singer I’d never heard of; her name was Madonna. My Motown cover band had equal billing, but that clearly eluded Madonna’s team, who saw the downtown club gig as a showcase for her and her alone. Madonna sound-checked with such elaborate precision that my band never got to do so; by the time she was obsessively through with the mic, the doors were opening to the public and we were fucked. What’s more, after our performance, Madonna’s manager didn’t want us greeting guests in the joint dressing room, because the apparently demure Madge was getting ready for her set and didn’t want to change in front of strangers. I demanded my rights, while thinking, “This creature isn’t going anywhere.” I should have realized then that it was just this kind of aggressive tunnel vision that would rocket her to the pantheon.

Madonna was suddenly everywhere on the club scene, but her first single, the 1982 ditty “Everybody,” was so insistently whiny, I still wasn’t convinced she had a snowball’s chance. But she made it, with artfully done videos, rampant sexuality, and an ability to charm people’s pants off with feisty frankness. She even tried Hollywood, bombing out with stuff like the screwball comedy Who’s That Girl? while never letting people see her sweat. By 1987, I was hooked, so I went to see Madonna promote the movie outside a theater in Times Square, where she told the assembled throngs, “Shut up, so I can talk.” The steely determination was impressive.

Madonna in Village Voice

She struck up a sensational gal-pal relationship with lesbian comic Sandra Bernhard, indulging in all sorts of innuendo that got the media and public panting. The two stars were at the center of 1989’s “Don’t Bungle the Jungle” — a BAM benefit for the Brazilian rainforest — where their sardonic antics upstaged ecological issues. After Madonna rattled off some rainforest facts, Sandra moaned, “Who the fuck do you think you are, Tracy Chapman?” “No,” replied Madonna. “I’m not working at a convenience store. But I do like to sneak off to a 7-Eleven at night for some jawbreakers.” “The bitch is cold,” Sandra interjected. “Funky cold Medina.” They launched into a version of “I Got You Babe,” and the comic sang, “I know we don’t have a cock, but at least I’m sure of all the things we got.” “Don’t believe the stories,” urged Madonna as the show wound down. “Believe the stories,” implored Sandra.

When I interviewed Sandra for my Voice column, she claimed their lesbian shenanigans were just shtick and people should relax about it. “I mean, God, you know, Madonna is a raging lesbian!” she said, eyes rolling. “I mean why don’t they take it really literally!” But when Madonna was spotted wildly making out with Sandra’s ex-girlfriend Ingrid Casares, I took the denials with a grain of potpourri. read more →

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Q&A with Alek Keshishian on Madonna, “Truth or Dare”

Truth or Dare is one of the few documentaries whose legacy, it seems to me, continues to evolve. Madonna is still adding to her own legend, and Truth or Dare had such specific insight into her ambition, her sense of self, and even gay culture thanks to her dancers. How do you think the movie’s legacy continues to endure, especially in recent years?

Gosh, I’ll be honest with you. It’s not something I really think about. I kind of feel like that process is up to the individual. I’d say the most significant realization is when I meet people who say that the movie kept them alive in some way. It’s usually gay people, and they basically say it made them feel they weren’t alone in a time when they were vulnerable. That’s amazing to me, that that legacy lives on. We forgot that some of the stuff that we were making at the time was incredibly controversial for a mainstream film and a mainstream star. It’s that legacy that was the most significant for me, but I don’t know if that’s changed. I don’t even know if people watch the movie anymore.

It feels like this movie captures a hundred different storylines — about Madonna, her dancers, her crew and her family. Did you worry that wouldn’t cohere?

When I was shooting it, there was always that frustration: You’ve got a crew, you’ve got cameras, lights. It takes a certain amount of time to get to things. I probably missed 90% of the stuff, even if we shot 200+ hours of film. Then you realize that in the 10% you’re getting, hopefully there’s a way to show in a microcosm, two hours, the whole that you missed. That was my view while shooting. The thing about the documentary that made it so challenging is I tended to edit while I was shooting. Madonna tended up to bring up things, like her friend from high school. I would think, “Oh, we need to bring her in. We need to have her see Madonna.” There were points in the shooting where I thought, “We’re not getting enough of her vulnerability.” I have all this funny stuff and tough-person stuff, but I was missing a side of her that I knew by that point. A documentary is really about the relationship between the documentarian and the subject; that creates what you end up seeing. At that point, Madonna and I spoke every morning before she did anything and every night — just as friends catching up. There was a vulnerability to her, especially in the mornings. People didn’t get to see that, and that’s why I decided to shoot the mornings in her suite where she’s waking up and we hear all those voices talking about her. That was one of the few things that I shot where I didn’t place myself in the room. I knew if I placed myself in the room, she’d kind of be communicating to me. I was literally standing outside the suite and my film guys were in there. We got these beautiful images of her alone in this giant space, which to me was the metaphor. I think one of her people goes, “I think she’s this little girl lost in this huge storm.” Those are the kind of ways you try to create in a microcosm the fullest portrait of the person.

Madonna in 'Truth or Dare' read more →

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Preview: Madonna in Love Magazine

It’s here. The secret project between LOVE and Mert Alas titled LOVE 16.5. The special edition collectors issue ‘LOVE by Mert Alas’ supported by Marc Jacobs launches on 19th September during London Fashion Week.

Without any hair, make up or styling, cover star Madonna, shot by Mert Alas, is seen sucking her thumb in bed, wearing a hooded sweatshirt by Palace. ‘Madonna 2:00AM by Mert Alas’ is a 10-page reportage that the photographer shot of Madonnna in the early hours at his Hampstead home.

Our Editor-in-Chief Katie Grand says: “In early 2016, the media was obsessing over the discord in Madonna’s relationship with her son Rocco. I was struck by how mean the press were about a woman simply going to work and wanting her son to be a part of it. I spoke to Mert about the possibility of doing a shoot with her, as he, Madonna and Rocco are all friends. I wasn’t sure it would ever happen, to be honest, but Mert said, ‘Let me ask M and Rocco.’ Much to my surprise, the morning after Madonna’s reconciliation with Rocco, nine stunning images of Madonna arrived via WhatsApp. They had been taken at 2am at Mert’s house in Hampstead where he and Madonna often hang out and have casual dinners.”

Madonna tells Murray Healy in the accompanying interview with LOVE 16.5 how “acceptance by the establishment equals death” and says: “I don’t consider myself a pop act, I consider myself an artist. And it’s an artist’s responsibility to be revolutionary in our work. It’s our responsibility, our duty and our privilege.”

On the burden of fame, she says: “I was already famous before social media, so for me fame isn’t the burden. Fame is the manifestation or the by-product of my work, and that was two decades before social media. Now to me the burden is people are more focused on fame than actually doing the work or being an artist. Now it’s easy to become famous. What isn’t easy is to develop and grow as an artist without being distracted or consumed with fame.”

Madonna also tells LOVE 16.5: “I like Instagram because it’s like keeping a diary and every day I get to share different aspects of my personality, my life, and what inspires me, what infuriates me, or what causes I want to fight for. It allows me to be mysterious, ironic, provocative or proud. I get to use it as a platform to bring attention to people or issues that I think are important. It allows me to be the curator of my life.”

Editor in Chief KATIE GRAND
Creative Director MATT ROACH
Editorial Director MURRAY HEALY
Production Editor MATT FIVEASH
Fashion Director STEVE MORRISS
Art Director MARTIN TICKNER
Senior Designer ROBBIE MAILER-HOWAT
Production Controller MARIE RHYS-EVANS
Commercial Senior Production Controller LOUISE LAWSON
Publisher CATHERINE RUSSELL
Managing Director NICHOLAS COLERIDGE
Special thanks to MARC JACOBS

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