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Madonna News - January 2009

Gossip : Guy Ritchie spends New Year alone

Madonna’s ex Guy Ritchie spent a forlorn New Year’s Eve alone at his country mansion after the couple’s festive truce.

Guy, 40, hid away, shunning party invites from pals as he brooded over the couple’s failed marriage.

While superstar Madge, 50, saw in the New Year with their three kids in the Maldives, the movie maker was at Ashcombe House, Wilts, with just his housekeeper for company.

The couple – whose divorce was officially finalised in court yesterday – buried the hatchet to get together on Boxing Day for the sake of Lourdes, 12, Rocco, eight, and three-year-old David.

But worried pals claim Guy “hit the emotional buffers” afterwards and finally admitted how badly the marriage breakup has affected him. One friend told The People: “Guy was on a real downer over New Year and just wanted to be alone to think.

“He watched TV, had a few beers and then had an early night. He’s been quite bullish throughout the divorce and when out with the lads he gives the impression that he is relieved to be a free man again.

“But December 22 was their eighth wedding anniversary and Guy seemed to be feeling the split more than before. He and Madonna called a truce after Christmas and spent time together with the kids. He was surprised at how friendly and natural it felt. I suppose it got him wondering whether they could have handled things differently.”

Guy flies to New York today to work on his new movie Sherlock Holmes. The divorce decree was made absolute at London’s High Court.

source : the people

Madonna strikes a pose for Louis Vuitton

“This was really different,” explains Antoine Arnault, communications director of Louis Vuitton, when asked how Madonna came to front the company’s new spring/summer campaign. “Usually, these things take much, much longer,” he explains; a lengthy process of identifying the right person to embody the fashion and luxury-goods brand, the right photographer, the right look for the campaign, plus, of course, all the deal-making a project like this involves. This time, however, pretty much everything was agreed inside a week.

“On the Monday,” Arnault recalls, “we had a meeting, and Marc Jacobs suggested Madonna. I thought, yes, great idea, but it will never happen. Then, in the meeting, Marc sent her a text saying, ‘Love, would you like to be the new Louis Vuitton woman?’ Five minutes later, she’d replied. He showed me his phone, and she’d said, ‘Yes, I’d love to do it.’” What could be simpler?

Clearly, when a big brand like Louis Vuitton chooses a new face for its campaign, it’s not just a matter of affectionate text messages between Marc Jacobs and Madonna. Men like Louis Vuitton’s CEO, Yves Carcelle, have to agree that it is a good idea, not a whim, as well as, of course, Carcelle’s boss and Antoine Arnault’s father, Bernard Arnault, head of the LVMH luxury-goods empire.

But as Antoine Arnault sees it, “Marc knows the brand probably better than anyone now,” having been artistic director for a decade, during which time Louis Vuitton has expanded massively. Jacobs had seen Madonna in concert the week before, but it wasn’t some “let’s be crazy” decision, Arnault explains, citing how Jacobs had previously picked J-Lo as the face of Louis Vuitton in 2003. “That wasn’t an obvious choice, perhaps, but it instantly put us on the top in the US in one campaign.

“Madonna is glamorous,” Arnault continues. “She has a global image. She’s the ultimate performer and businesswoman, and not someone who is just a famous singer. She has travelled; she has tried to change things.” And if her personal life isn’t perfect right now, “Well, that only makes her more human.” Once the proposal had been made, and provisionally accepted, in both cases by text, “Then we had to agree on a figure, a concept, a photographer.” Yet the whole process seems to have been plain sailing – an object lesson, if you like, in the degree of certainty that people at the top of the fashion industry tend to display about their creative choices.

The figure? Well, just how much Madonna is being paid for what is, in a sense, both one day’s work and the product of many years at the top of her game is a moot point. Some have claimed it’s $10 million (£6.6 million). But Arnault is careful to puncture that, saying, “The figure is really, really lower than that. In times like these, it would be totally irresponsible to pay anyone $10 million.”

The concept? Madonna has been photographed in a nostalgic, Parisian bistro setting, perhaps at that “waiters whistling as the last bar closes” moment in the early hours. “Only it’s in LA,” Arnault quips, not Paris – “One of those French bistros in California where you really think you’re in France” – and it’s daytime and there are hundreds of paparazzi outside. Madonna smoulders quietly, all fishnets and high kicks, with a glamour that gives more than a nod to Dietrich, long an acknowledged influence. She’s wearing Marc Jacobs’ ready-to-wear clothes for Louis Vuitton, styled by Marie-Amélie Sauvé, with, of course, due prominence given to some lovely bags and shoes, those accessories that have long been such steady earners for the brand.

But there is a certain quietness to the images, a kind of gentleness, perhaps, which might also (along with that willingly professed prudence over Madonna’s fee) be a sign of the extraordinary times we live in. Certainly, when I put it to Arnault that the crunch might be changing the aesthetic and that, in particular, a certain kind of flash advertising message now looks passé, even wrong somehow, he doesn’t exactly demur. “Other people can try to rationalise every campaign, but there is certainly a feeling that emerges from designers, photographers, creatives of all kinds, which is maybe something they don’t talk about, but which they can feel.”

The photographer in question here is Steven Meisel, rather than Mert and Marcus, who have shot all of Louis Vuitton’s campaigns since 2002, including those amazingly effective shots of J-Lo. “We were very happy with them,” Arnault insists, but all good things come to an end – and, after all, it was Meisel who photographed the wilder, younger, more in-your-face Madonna who leapt off the pages of Sex, the book which caused such a storm back in 1992. So this campaign can be seen as something of a reunion, Meisel additionally having photographed Madonna for Vanity Fair late last year. Jacobs and Meisel are old friends, too, Arnault explains, “from the crazy years of the Eighties”.

And once Antoine Arnault had assembled his dream team? “I think the three of them were in touch with each other on the phone almost every day,” he says of the run-up to the shoot, “talking about ideas, sharing references, then talking about individual shots.” On the big day itself, “About 50 people were on the set, which sounds like a lot, but it’s all in the preparation, in the make-up and the set and so on. Once that was in place, Madonna would come out, get into position, and the shots went amazingly quickly, sometimes in about 15 minutes. It was a delight.”

source : times online

Rumour : Sticky & Sweet Encore ?

Page Six (New York Post) :

The success of Madonna’s 2008 “Sticky & Sweet” tour – she reportedly earned $280 million in ticket sales – may not have hit its final note. Madge wrapped up her world tour last week, but a source told us, “She will be back in London this summer performing a few more shows.” We know one person who won’t be in the crowd – Guy Ritchie. Madonna’s ex-husband is living in the London home they once shared, while she held on to their Manhattan place. Her rep did not return e-mails.