Poor Lady Gaga. From a general disinterest in her antics to dwindling album sales, the “Mother Monster” can’t seem to catch a break nowadays. Recently, the 28-year-old received a Golden Raspberry nomination for Worst Supporting Actress (for Machete Kills).
Now comes news that Gaga has been replaced by Madonna for Versace’s advertising campaign. (Let’s not forget that Gaga’s Born This Way has been accused of copying Madonna’s classic Express Yourself.)
At the age of 56, Madonna continues to reinvent herself constantly. Versace’s Spring/Summer 2015 campaign was shot to capture the pop queen’s timeless power today. Naturally, Her Madgesty is dressed in ensembles from the Italian luxury brand, showcasing her toned body in the visuals.
Speaking about her new role, Madonna said: ‘It’s always exciting to be dressed head-to-toe in Versace and experience firsthand Donatella’s vivid imagination and passion that she has created for this collection.”
This marks the fourth time she has appeared in Versace’s advertising campaigns; her first was way back in 1995.
Still a believer in Madge’s ability to shill products to the upwardly mobile set, designer Donatella enthused: “Madonna is one of the true icons of Versace. I am thrilled to have my friend and the most powerful and directional artist as the face of Versace for Spring 2015.”
In an interview with the New York Times, Donatella added: “Madonna says it best herself: She is unapologetic. She is her own woman, a role model who shows other women how we can do what we want, and get what we want, and do so for all of our lives, with no compromise.”
The same newspaper interviewed advertising consultant Lisa Mirchin, who dismissed any notion that Madonna is too old to be fronting a fashion campaign.
“Once you hit that icon status, it’s not a matter of relevance,” Mirchin was quoted as saying. “Is Marilyn Monroe or Audrey Hepburn relevant? I think so. Madonna is ageless, and so is most fashion. Women are dressing as one age now. The range can go from 20 to whatever nature and physics will allow.”
Fashion photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, who shot Madonna’s MDNA album art, got behind the lens for this campaign. It is set to run as a 12-page portfolio in upcoming issues of Vanity Fair and Vogue, among other publications.
The renowned duo was also responsible for Madonna’s Interview magazine shoot, which caused quite a stir the past week. The mother-of-four modelled a series of cut-away outfits while reclining on a bed, and in one shot, posed topless in a cut-out corset. Some online comments insinuated that her breasts appeared too plastic.
Ever the publicity maven, Madonna is doing all this as her 13th studio album is around the corner, as evidenced by leaks of new songs Rebel Heart and Wash All Over Me. Themed the “art issue”, the publication is offering three different Madonna covers. She is interviewed by friend and illusionist David Blaine.
In the wide-ranging profile, in which Madonna jokingly called Blaine “a selfish pig”, she said the idea of “a whole day of silence sounds very seductive to me.”
She also explained her attraction to creative people. “You don’t want to be the smartest person in the room; you want to be the dumbest in the room. You want to be surrounded by other thinking people who are going to say something that makes you think, ‘Oh, my God, that’s an amazing idea. Why didn’t I think of that?’’’
To Blaine’s query “What movie scenes do you watch over and over in your mind?”, she had a most interesting answer.
“I see Wong Kar-wai’s film In The Mood For Love. The slow-motion shot of that beautiful Chinese woman walking up and down the stairway, up and down the stairway, up and down the stairway, over and over again. Everything about that movie, I could replay in my head. The tracking shots of the camera when she’s in the room with her lover and they’re eating together – that movie is so beautiful, like a dance.”
I don’t know about you, but the notion of Madonna being obsessed by Maggie Cheung in a cheongsam makes me love her even more.
■ The columnist attended Madonna’s MDNA concert in Paris in 2012, and waited five hours for her to appear on stage. She’s a real diva, that Madge.
(@thestar.com / William K.C.Kee)