The Queen of Pop can't let go. Madonna, who is debuting a new fashion line, hand picked her poster girl - "Gossip Girl" actress Taylor Momsen - and even shot her for the campaign out now.
Madge's new juniors fashion line, Material Girl, is a collaboration with her 13-year-old daughter, Lourdes, that launches at 200 Macy's stores on Tuesday.
But designing a new collection clearly isn't enough to keep the pop powerhouse busy. Madonna shocked everyone on set in Williamsburg when she took creative control of the campaign shoot, styling many of the looks and borrowing the photographer's camera to shoot them, too.
"When she took the camera, it was insane," says Dari Marder, chief marketing officer of manufacturer Iconix Brand Group, of the shoot, which took place in May. "But she clearly knew what she was doing, and it just looked so natural."
When Madonna arrived on set, she introduced herself and started styling Momsen. "She flipped up a collar, wrapped a scarf, gave her a hat - with no game," Marder says. Retailing from $12 to $40 for a target audience of 14- to 24-year-olds, the Material Girl brand offers a few pricier pieces called "Wow" items, such as an $80 motorcycle jacket.
It may be 2010, but it looks like we're still living in a Material World.
~ Since the photoshoot, Madonna has travelled to Nice, France and more particularly to the coastal village Villefranche-sur-Mer, where she continues the shooting of her movie W.E.
Madonna is planning a star-filled Live Aid-style concert as a benefit in September for her Raising Malawi charity, according to England's Sunday Mirror. The publication quotes a source as saying, "Plans are in place to make this the biggest fundraiser the world has ever seen. Madonna is throwing everything into it. She knows the bigger the event the more money will be raised."
The superstar plans to to give away 60,000 free tickets to fans for the stadium concert in Blantyre, Malawi and plans are being made to have the concert broadcast worldwide, much like Live Aid, the 1985 fundraising concert that raised $225 million for African famine relief at which she performed.
Madonna has adopted two children from the impoverished nation, 5-year-old Mercy, and 4-year-old David, and is building a school there.
Update: Raising Malawi has denied such plans.
Pop music, by definition, is music that is popular. There are several ways to measure popularity, yet none of them can be claimed the definite one. But if all those methods fail to indicate popularity, it's still pop music, because of its purpose. It was written, produced, recorded and released to gain popularity, which leads to profit for all the people involved.
Pop music is often labeled as the lowest common denominator with the masses and is meant to be instant, catchy and undemanding. It's supposed to make people want more, hear it over and over again, it should not be enough to hear it once in a while on the radio, they want you to invest in owning the piece. How do they achieve that? They make sure you can't escape it on radio, they produce a video that's constantly on channels, preferably it's talked about a lot. Some imagery gets attached to it, or even a message, so most people notice.
What happens after they succeed? You, and preferably a lot of others bought it, so everyone is happy. But are you going to play the song in question until the end of time? Will you constantly revisit it on lazy afternoons, hot summer days and so on? Probably not. Why? Because the hit factory doesn't sleep, songs will keep on coming out, trying to get your attention. And since the upcoming tracks will have the "new" feeling, you will start to prefer it over the previous song, and it goes on like this.
These songs are meant for the moment, not for a lifetime. When it's discussed that song in question "will be remembered in so many years", it'll be either due to people holding onto their memories too much, and not being interested in constantly pay attention on what's new, or due to the song being chosen to become a nostalgia-flagship, to represent an era and "keep on selling".
Let's look at it through Madonna's discography. She scored 37 top 10 hits, which means she had 37 songs that were undoubtedly popular at one point in time. Nowadays, not all 37 are still played on the radio. Roughly half of them are, so unless you were a Madonna fan for decades, you won't know the song Keep It Together for being a pop hit. Most of Madonna's remembered hits are from the 80s, featured on The Immaculate Collection. Songs like Into The Groove or Lucky Star are still played a lot today, but so is Holiday, which was far from a #1 hit at the time. There are other anomalies: the song Ray Of Light did well on the US and UK sales charts, but showed poor chartings in many countries, was one of the worst performing Madonna songs on US radio up to that point and nowadays it barely gets recurrent airplay there. Yet it's undoubtedly one of Madonna's signature songs and gets an amazing response each time Madonna performs it live.
But what does all that mean? Are these songs, that are still remembered after so many years, "better"? Better than those songs that are not played anymore, better than, God forbid, all those songs that never got the chance to become hits? Definitely not. They were produced the same way as any pop songs, nobody ever imagined they would be radio staples 25 years later. Especially if we remember that several hits from her first few years weren't even written by herself, there wasn't any artistic demand to create those songs, Madonna recorded tracks like Borderline, Dress You Up or Open Your Heart because they had the "hit-potential", she and her label wanted to sell her brand. Coincidentally they were flanked by a lot of Madonna's trendsetting imagery and the height of the MTV era helped too.
Whether you think those songs are "better" than current ones, that's entirely up to subjective taste, the purpose of a popular recording artist is always the same as long as she's employed by a major record label. Pop music is constructed to have hooks, catchy melodies, sing-along choruses, most likely condensed into 3-4 minutes. Some songs have only a verse and a chorus, other songs have more variation and include more hooks. But it's still pop music, there's no hierarchy among the songs, whether a pop song succeeds, it boils down to a lot of circumstances. In 2010, Madonna cannot get airplay in the US, no matter how "good" the song in question is found by a certain amount of people. Yet, the same exact song could be recorded and released by a younger and currently hyped artist, it will most likely become a hit. Artists will always come and go, people lose interest, but there'll always be someone singing catchy choruses and people paying attention to them.
When Madonna's new music is released, it will be pop, just like what she's been doing in the past 28 years. Many of us, Madonna fans, will love the new songs, if only because it's her voice that makes a pop song stand out for us, either because we will find the melody or the production match our tastes. Some of us won't like them, because the aforementioned aspects wouldn't be our cup of tea. It's still gonna be just another piece in her discography and there won't be a need for over-analyzing why it doesn't match one's expectations.
The 2011 edition of the Guiness World Records features Madonna as the Top-selling Female Recording Artist, with album sales up to December 2009 of 75 million in the USA and 200 million abroad.
The Queen of Pop is also listed as the woman with the most #1 albums in the UK.
A replica of the Duchess of Windsor's wedding outfit, currently on show at the National Museum of Costume at Dumfries, has been pulled from display and is heading to the set of Madonna's film W.E., in which actress Andrea Riseborough plays the woman whose charms created a crisis for the British monarchy.
The outfit was worn in 2005 by Joely Richardson, who played Simpson in the TV production Wallis and Edward. It was showing in at the museum as part of a touring Marriage in the Movies exhibition.
"This was a dress that was made for the movies, so when we received the request from Madonna's production company, we were only too happy to oblige," said Margaret Roberts, the museum's general manager. It will remain on display until 12 July, though the rest of the exhibition will be open until the end of October.
Edward VIII abdicated on 10 December, 1936 after declaring his love for Simpson; marriage to an American divorcee was considered unacceptable, particularly for the Church of England. Edward, now the Duke of Windsor, and Simpson were married on 3 June, 1937, at Chateau de Cande near Tours, France.
While the duke wore formal black morning dress, Simpson was described wearing a floor-length cocktail dress with a fitted jacket, gloves, high-heeled sandals, and a tiny hat, all coloured "Wallis blue".
British actor James D'Arcy, whose work includes a role in Secret Diary of a Call Girl, plays Edward VIII opposite Riseborough, best known for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the BBC drama The Long Walk to Finchley. A father and son from a venerable British acting dynasty, James Fox and his son Laurence Fox, play King George V and his younger son Bertie.
But the film tells the story of two paralell love stories six decades apart, with actress Abbie Cornish playing a modern New Yorker who is obsessed with Simpson's story, only to fall for a security guard at an auction of her effects.
The replica dress is owned by a theatrical costume agency, Cosprop, and was part of a show including wedding dresses worn by film stars Meryl Streep, Keira Knightley, Natasha Kinsky and Helena Bonham Carter.
But after the request from Madonna's producers, the museum waived a contract under which the dress would have been on show until October. While the costume, designed by Michael O'Connor, features in a key scene in the film, it will have plenty of competitors for screen time.
Madonna's own famous costumes already tour UK museums — the pink dress from her 1985 Material Girl video was among costumes that showed in Perth earlier this year. In an interview she suggested Simpson's character might end up changing costumes almost as quickly.
"The duchess has, like, 80 costume changes" she said. "She was dressed by Balenciaga and Christian Dior, and Vionnet and Schiaparelli. Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels made most of her jewellery. "A lot of the actual stuff is in museum archives."
New pictures have surfaced for the Dolce & Gabbana Fall/Winter 2010-2011 campaign. The photoshoot in Harlem, NYC continues the concept of the Italian housewife that we saw in the previous campaign. Now we also meet the rest of the family, with young actor and model Max Schneider featuring as one of the main characters.
ABBIE CORNISH, ANDREA RISEBOROUGH, JAMES D’ARCY OSCAR ISAAC, RICHARD COYLE, JAMES FOX AND LAURENCE FOX JOIN "W.E"
Based on an original screenplay, "W.E." a film written by Madonna and Alek Keshishian is set to begin shooting this summer in Europe (UK and France) and the US.
"W.E." tells two parallel love stories separated by more than six decades. Acclaimed actress Abbie Cornish (Sucker Punch, Bright Star, Elizabeth: The Golden Age) has been cast in the role of Wally Winthrop – a young married New Yorker in 1998 who is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate romantic love story, King Edward VIII's abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson.
Andrea Riseborough has been cast in the role of Wallis Simpson. Riseborough is best known for her outstanding Bafta Nominated performance of Margaret Thatcher in the acclaimed BBC drama "The Long Walk to Finchley" and will soon be seen in Brighton Rock. British star James D'Arcy (Master and Commander, Secret Diary of a Call Girl) will play the part of Edward VIII. Wally Winthrop's Russian love interest Evgeni will be played by rising star Oscar Isaac (Robin Hood, Sucker Punch) and her husband William will be played by Richard Coyle (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time).
Art imitates life as the revered British acting dynasty provides father and son, James Fox (Sherlock Holmes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Bafta nominated A Passage to India, Bafta winner The Servant) and Laurence Fox (Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Becoming Jane) in the roles of King George V and his son, Bertie.
1936 England - Wallis Simpson, an American woman, captured the heart of King Edward VIII. Already divorced and married to her second husband when she met Edward, then the Prince of Wales in London, the two fell in love. However, once crowned, Edward was told by the Church and the Prime Minister that he could not marry Wallis and remain King... He abdicated, giving up the throne to be with the woman he loved. Once married and known as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, they lived out what many considered to be the romance of the century.
1998 N.Y - Wally Winthrop has a troubled past and moves to New York from the South to work in Sotheby's Estate department. She gives up her job to marry a successful psychiatrist but the marriage is unhappy and Wally finds herself bored, frustrated and often alone. She seeks refuge in her obsession with what she believes to be the ultimate romantic love story, King Edward VIII ‘s abdication for his love of Wallis Simpson. When Wally discovers that there is going to be an auction of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor's Estate at Sotheby's, she takes the opportunity to return to her old hunting ground to try to understand the nature of the great love affair through the artifacts that once belonged to the couple. While at Sotheby's, Wally meets Evgeni, a Russian security guard, with a mysterious past. As she immerses herself deeper into the love story of Wallis and Edward, while spending more time away from her marriage, she finds herself falling in love.
We travel back and forth in time with Wally and Wallis, two fragile but determined women whose lives become inextricably linked. However, as the story unravels it becomes apparent that Wallis Simpson’s life was not as perfect as Wally had thought.
The film will be produced by Colin Vaines (producer Coriolanus, exec producer London Boulevard, The Gangs of New York and The Young Victoria) with Executive Producers Kris Thykier (producer The Debt, Kick-Ass, Harry Brown, exec producer Stardust) and Nigel Wooll (exec producer Miss Potter, co-producer GI Jane, White Squall).
The production team include Production Designer Martin Childs (Oscar Winner Shakespeare in Love, Oscar Nominated Quills, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas), Director of Photography, Hagen Bogdanski (The Lives of Others, The Young Victoria), Costume Designer, Arianne Phillips (Oscar Nominated Walk the Line, Bafta Nominated A Single Man) and Hair and Make Up Designer - Jenny Shircore (Oscar Winner Elizabeth, Bafta Winner and Oscar Nominated The Young Victoria).
Madonna has cast Natalie Dormer as Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in a new film on the 1936 Edward VIII abdication crisis, said to be critical of the Queen and sympathetic toward Wallis Simpson, the American woman Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry, the Telegraph reports.
Dormer, known for her portrayal of Henry VIII's second and arguably most infamous wife, Anne Boleyn, on Showtime's "The Tudors", says of her real-life character, "This country tends to remember the Queen Mother as a rather wrinkly 97 year-old, but I am playing her when she was quite an enchanting, engaging twenty and thirty-something. She was quite a savage and savvy game player." Quite like Anne Boleyn, then–clearly this is a role that Dormer will be right at home in playing.
Actress Margo Stilley has quit work on Madonna's upcoming film W.E. over "artistic differences".
The 9 Songs star had signed up to play Lady Thelma Furness in the new movie which tells the story of Britain's King Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne after falling in love with American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
The Material Girl will take the director's chair for the second time to tell the story of the former British monarch, but she is now looking for a new star to take over Stilley's role after the actress dropped out.
Stilley tells Britain's Sunday Telegraph, "I had the role, but we had artistic differences. She (Madonna) is really something. I wish the cast luck because they are all really talented."
The film, which stars Abbie Cornish and James D'Arcy, is slated for a 2011 release.
I am a longtime reader of Chart Beat and enjoy reading these "Ask Billboard" questions.
Many people compare Lady Gaga to Madonna. I believe the two are equal in talent, as well as style. It is hard to compare the pair, though, because Lady Gaga released her first single ("Just Dance") 27 months ago, while Madonna released her first single (Everybody) 333 months ago (or 322, if you consider Holiday Madonna's first mainstream hit).
I was wondering if you could compare any statistics between Lady Gaga and Madonna approximately two years into each artist's career.
Cherry Hill, New Jersey
Since Nielsen SoundScan data was not launched until 1991, we can't fairly compare Madonna's sales to Lady Gaga's. We can, however, look at their Billboard chart performances in their first 23 months after each artist's Hot 100 debut, since that's how long Lady Gaga has been impacting the chart. Madonna first reached the Hot 100 dated Oct. 29, 1983, and Lady Gaga, Aug. 16, 2008:
Billboard Hot 100
Madonna: 8 entries, 7 top 10s, 2 No. 1s (and 2 Gold titles, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)
Lady Gaga: 10 entries, 7 top 10s, 2 No. 1s (and 4 Platinum titles, according to the RIAA)
Madonna: 2 entries, 2 top 10s, 1 No. 1
Lady Gaga: 2 entries, 2 top 10s
Dance/Club Play Songs (comparing each artist's first 26 months, since Lady Gaga first charted on the list dated May 3, 2008)
Madonna: 5 entries, 5 top 10s, 3 No. 1s
Lady Gaga: 8 entries, 8 top 10s, 7 No. 1s
Madonna: 7 entries, 2 top 10s
Lady Gaga: 5 entries
Thus, in this strict comparison of charted titles, Madonna and Lady Gaga line up extremely similarly approximately two years into each artist's careers, especially on the Hot 100. At that checkpoint, each singer shows seven top 10s and two No. 1s.
Madonna's Billboard 200 ledger is more impressive, having banked a No. 1 with her second set, Like a Virgin, as is her early Adult Contemporary crossover appeal. Conversely, on Dance/Club Play Songs, Lady Gaga's first two years-plus clearly outshine Madonna's, in terms of chart visits and top 10s (8-5 in each category) and No. 1s (7-3).
Only time well tell if Lady Gaga's career can continue to evolve along that of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-enshrined Madonna, now counting 28 years since first putting her iconic stamp on pop music and culture.
Like Madonna, Lady Gaga writes her own material and possesses a unique sense of flare, so it's certainly possible that such a successful future could be in store.
Check back around 2036 and we'll have a better idea.
Although Madonna has built one of the biggest pop careers in history on body-baring costumes, hip-thrusting dance moves, controversial music and all-around sensationalism, she doesn't tolerate that type of nonsense when it comes to her teen daughter Lourdes — not when she's heading to school, anyway.
Madge, who is collaborating with 13-year-old Lola on the juniors fashion line Material Girl, said that while she appreciates her pop progeny's daring approach to fashion, she's not down with her daughter tarting it up for the classroom.
"I always have two reactions when Lola comes into my room with an outfit on: One is, 'Oh my God, she looks amazing, what incredible style.' And then my second reaction is, 'She's dressed completely inappropriately for school,' " Madonna told People in a video interview. "I usually tell her to take off her 3-inch or 6-inch platforms and pull her skirt down just a little bit and take off some of the black eye makeup."
Eventhough Madonna has spent the better part of the last three decades strutting around onstage and entertaining millions of fans in some iteration of a figure-hugging bodysuit, the pop legend insists that her approach to Lola's look is a function of Madge's current identity as a regular ol' mom. "She does have amazing style, but I am the typical mother, where I say, 'Oh my God, you can't go to school dressed like that!' "
They may not agree when it comes to school clothes, but mother and daughter are working together on their Material Girl line, which launches August 3. While Madonna calls the shots when it comes to Lourdes' home-room fashion, the diva said Lola's style drives their joint collection.
"My role is really to make sure we were all going in the right direction ... and it was a line that I could stand behind and be proud of and feel good about and one that she could also feel represented her," Madonna said. "I really like the way Lola dresses, and I think this line is absolutely an extension of her taste."↑ Back to top of page