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Madonna is in Harper’s Bazaar again, this time interviewed by Naomi Wolf, author of The Beauty Myth. Their chat focuses on the issues of women, power and celebrity, clearly forces she can (still) identify with. And this probably explains why those issues also resonate in her new film, W.E.
Madonna co-wrote the film that juxtaposes Wally (played by Abbie Cornish), a modern trophy wife trapped in an abusive relationship, with Wallis Simpson (played by Andrea Riseborough). The two women’s stories become intertwined when Wallis enters the mind of the modern Wally as a mentor.
While the reviews have been mixed, the film is poised to be a costume contender, with over 60 couture costume changes. Oscar-nominated (Walk the LIne) costume designer Ariane Phillips, Madonna’s longtime stylist who designed costumes for her last four tours, created the costumes based on Simpson’s real life wardrobe of the likes of Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Vionnet and Elsa Schiaparelli.
Most of these gowns are now archived in museums. But many of the couture houses agreed to make duplicate costumes for the film. Philips created the rest often out of vintage fabric, based on patterns from the museum archives. Neil Lane, Dior, Dunhill, Stephen Jones Millinery and jeweler Alexis Bittar also contributed major pieces.
Madonna asked Cartier to reproduce the emerald engagement ring and a bracelet with nine crosses in platinum and precious stones that the Duke of Windsor gave Walls to seal their relationship. Cartier never makes copies. But they did it for Madonna. Now that’s power.
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