When Madonna needed inspiration for her latest fashion collection, she didn't have to look far. The pop icon teamed up with her 13-year-old daughter, Lourdes, to create Material Girl, an affordable juniors' clothing line that debuts at Macy's this fall.
This is not Madonna's first foray into designing. In 2007, she worked with H&M to create a limited edition collection, M by Madonna. This time around, her venture into fashion will be long-lasting: She has launched a new company called MG ICON which, in addition to producing the juniors' line, will also put out other collections including eyewear.
The Material Girl collection includes jeans, shoes, fingerless gloves, necklaces and other accessories. Many of the pieces are inspired by the dance roots Madonna and her daughter share.
Madonna recently spoke about Material Girl, her relationship with Lourdes (nicknamed Lola) and her fashion risks and regrets.
AP: Why did you want to do a juniors' line?
Madonna: Lola has been bothering me for ages about designing clothes. Stella McCartney is a good friend of mine and she got her mind thinking when Lola was a little girl, about 8 years old. She started giving Lola fabrics and inviting her into her showroom and asking her opinion on things, giving her sketch books and stuff like that. Stella always pushed her. I have a lot of friends who are clothing designers, whether it is Gaultier or Dolce and Gabbana. (Lola) has been around all of the shoots I have done and all of the campaigns I have done. She is always hanging out backstage. The last two tours I have done, she has been working in the wardrobe department. On this last tour, she dressed all of the dancers.
AP: What has Lola taught you about fashion?
Madonna: I am boring, basically. She reminds me of me when I was younger. She just goes for it and tries different things. It doesn't look like she thought too much about it. That is how I used to be, but after years and years of everybody commenting on the way I look and dress and being photographed, one starts to become self-conscious and starts to plan things more. You end up judging yourself more, what looks good and what doesn't.
AP: What has it been like to work with your daughter?
Madonna: It is good because she does have good taste in fashion. I respect her taste and I rarely disagree with her.
AP: Was part of you hesitant about Lola designing this line as she would be thrust into the spotlight?
Madonna: That is why I am here talking about the line and she is not. Eventually, I will let her. I feel like she needs to get into high school and focus on her studies, her lessons. She got into the high school of the performing arts. She has a lot of work to do. I don't want her to be distracted. She will eventually be able to talk about it. I am going to be happy when she does because she can speak much more clearly in and in a more informed way than I can about a line she is ultimately designing. I just stand in the background and go, "That's cool. That's not cool."
AP: The clothing is affordable. Why was it important to you to keep the price low?
Madonna: When I was 13 years old, I couldn't afford designer clothes. I couldn't afford expensive clothing. When I designed a line of clothes for H&M, that was one of the things I liked so much about it, that it was really affordable. I think that is one of the nice things about it, that you can make nice clothes at affordable prices.
AP: You are known as being a fashion risk taker. Do you ever look back and wonder, "What was I thinking?"
Madonna: Yeah. I would rather not point them out. I think I had a lot of bad hair moments. In the early '80s, just sometimes I wore purple lipstick or green lipstick. Clothing-wise, I am happy about the way I dressed.
AP: With your music career and with the girls' school you are building in Malawi, was part of you hesitant about taking on another project with this clothing line?
Madonna: If Lola wasn't so completely involved in the line, designing, consulting, whatever you want to call it, I wouldn't do it. Really, she does most of the work, honestly.
AP: Who are Lola's fashion influences?
Madonna: Lola spent most of her childhood growing up in England. According to her, she thinks people have more style in London, especially the boys. French boys in particular have very good style, according to Lola. I think she has been very influenced by European fashion. She is very influenced by the music she listens to, different bands she is into. She has favorite models. She takes all kinds of dance classes. She is inspired by different items people wear as dancers, whether it is a hip-hop class or a jazz class or ballet class. ... Of course, she is inspired by my closet. My Christian Dior shoes will go missing and then some fabulous bag I won't be able to find or my skinny jeans, the only pair that fit me are gone.
AP: Has working on this clothing line together bonded you in a different way?
Madonna: I see her more as a creative person, as an artist and less as my daughter as we are working, and then every once and a while I remembered she is my daughter.
By Alicia Quarles