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Madonna Interview : ELLE UK

Madonna - ELLE / April 2007

Queen of Style

In ELLE’s exclusive interview, the world’s biggest female star talks to Kerry Potter about fashion, family, fame and being a style icon…

In many ways, she is just as you’d expect. She’s bang on time. She’s direct and economical with her words, and doesn’t feel the need to witter on endlessly. She’s got that strange American twang cut through with clipped English pronunciation. And she wraps up proceedings with expert polite efficiency: ‘I have to go as I have a meeting in seven minutes. Thank you.’

But I’m happy to report that the woman who has reigned as queen of the music industry, fashion world and Planet Celebrity for the last 25 years isn’t entirely terrifying. Maybe she was just in a very good mood, as the Madonna I encountered was warm, laughed a lot and even did small talk, finding it amusing, that my name sounds like Harry Potter (I get this a lot and it’s irritating, of course, but when Madonna takes the mickey out of you, well, it’s just not that annoying, is it?)

At 48, Madonna remains the consummate celebrity multitasker: the most successful female pop star the world has ever known, businesswoman, mother, provocateur and winner of our Style Icon Award at the recent 10th ELLE Style Awards. ‘I’m so flattered by that,’ she says. ‘Thank you, ELLE.’

Since elbowing her way into the spotlight in 1983, she has mastered more looks than most of us have had dinners. But it seems the only person not fascinated by Madonna’s ever-changing style is Madonna herself. ‘I don’t have any particular favorite look. I like them all,’ she shrugs. ‘I don’t like to look back. Who wants to wear last year’s clothes? There are too many new things to buy!’ Including pieces from her latest collaboration with high-street retailers H&M, M by Madonna, a sophisticated, grown-up collection featuring tailored trench coats and day dresses. ‘I’ve tried to make a very chic line that’s relatively inexpensive,’ she says. She even does her own market research. ‘I try my designs out on my husband – I put on an outfit and say, “Do you like this?” And he says, “Oh yes, that’s cool.” And I’ll go, “Yep, it’s only 20 pounds.” And I do a lot of testing when I go out. People will comment on my outfit and I’ll say, “Thanks, I designed it.” And they’ll look closely and go, “Really?”‘

Madonna is also working on a children’s clothing range, a tie-in with her English Roses children’s books series for which daughter Lourdes, 10, models and test-runs the prototypes. But all is not entirely harmonious in the Ritchie household where matters of fashion are concerned. ‘My daughter is going through a phase of wearing jeans that are so tight she can’t bend her knees in them. I have a closet full of clothes and you wear the same pants every day. And please wear a belt because I don’t want to see your butt crack when you band over.” And my son never wants to take of his Gap army fatigue pants. They both wear the same thing over and over again.’ Does she keep hold of her own pieces for Lourdes to inherit some say? ‘The only thing she’s requested to have when she grows up is my wedding dress, to wear for her own wedding,’ she smiles. If Lourdes changes her mind, she’ll find the rest of her mum’s covetable vintage collection in California. ‘I have an archive museum in a warehouse which houses all the costumes I’ve worn on stage and in videos – one-of-a-kind pieces made for me and special pieces that I’ve always loved.’