The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute Benefit, widely known as fashion’s biggest night, is looking to religion this year as its source of sartorial inspiration. The 2018 Met Gala theme, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination is a rumination on the influence that Catholicism has had on fashion as we know it.
While some may consider the Met Gala’s theme to be daring or controversial, fashion has never shied away from holding anything as too sacred. From Madonna’s affinity for crucifixes as accessories to Lady Gaga’s avant-garde take on a nun’s habit for her 2011 Monster Ball tour, here’s a look back on 15 iconic fashion moments that were inspired by Catholicism and its aesthetics.
In pop culture and the red carpet, there are few figures more closely associated with religion — and controversy — than Madonna. From her moniker to her love of a good crucifix accessory, Madge’s fixation on Catholicism (the religion she was raised in) has been a big part of her brand. Many point to her infamous 1989 music video for “Like a Prayer” (which featured stigmata, burning crosses, and a kiss between a saint and a very La Dolce Vita-esque Madonna in a black lace slip dress) as being Madonna’s most polarizing allusion to Catholicism and for good reason — the American Family Association boycotted it and led to Pepsi being cancelled.
However, Madonna’s “Like a Prayer” controversy was nothing compared to the backlash that she received during her 2006 Confessions a spokesperson for the Vatican called her concert “an act of open hostility” and suggested that she be excommunicated.a bohemian ensemble by Jean Paul Gaultier tour, where she wore (the designer responsible for her infamous cone bra) while hanging from a mirrored cross and sporting a fake crown of thorns. After she extended an invite to her concert in Rome to the Pope, a spokesperson from the Vatican denounced the concert as “an act of open hostility” and suggested that she should be excommunicated.
To read full article visit Time.com
Madonna may be many things—but predictable? Never!
Whether inspiring an entire generation to pair rosary beads with lacy lingerie, or making a case for *the* cone bra, the longtime performer and fashion icon has been unwittingly setting trends for more than 35 years.
Madge first made her mark on the Costume Institute’s high-profile event in 1997, rolling up to the Met in a celestial cape and floral Versace gown.
Though she’s cherry picked the Met galas she’s attended since, when she does deign to grace the Upper East Side with her presence, you can be sure her look will be memorable (at the very least).
Read full article at InStyle.com
We have just updated our Like a Virgin page with this incredibly rare item.
This is the Japanese sample LP for the full album and contains an extremely rare promotional only 4 page folder. This folder is rarely seen, and in this case has been included with the promo LP to promote its upcoming release. The folder states ‘A Star Is Born’ (similar to the back cover of the 1983 Billboard magazine) and contains detailed info on the release of ‘Like a Virgin’.
This and more exclusive rarities from our own collection have been included in the ‘memorabilia’ section. Check it all out HERE
Fifteen years ago today I was queuing outside the studio’s in London waiting to attend the exclusive taping of Madonna at CD:UK. I was told that only 200 people were allowed in, most managed to get tickets and others were simply put on the guestlist. While waiting in the chilly London air, us fans had fun among one another discussing Madonna’s most recent album and promotional tour. A few of us attended the Absolut Madonna taping in Cologne a few days prior and this led to talk about which songs she would be performing at CD:UK. We all agreed that it would most likely be American Life and Hollywood again, and wouldn’t add another ‘oldie but goodie’ as she did at the promotional performances in New York and Cologne.
It wasn’t long before Madonna’s car turned up and we all frantically waved to her through the blinded windows, we know she couldn’t see us but we didn’t care. The thought she was inside that car was enough for us….awwww bless us. We were divided into two separate queues, one for the people on the guestlist and one for those with ‘regular’ tickets. I stuck with my friends even though I didn’t have the tickets in hand as I was told I was on the guestlist. We had our confirmation letter with us and upon checking our names we were allowed inside the tiny studio. The studio where M was about to perform must’ve been the smallest I have seen to date. One tiny black room with teeny tiny stage and two huge promotional American Life billboards on either side.
I found a space at the front row right next to the two step stairs to get on stage. Madonna’s band (including Monte Pittman, Mirwais and Mike McKnight) already arrived. Minutes later I look to my right and see Madonna, Angela and Caresse Henry walking in. I was just struck by how utterly gorgeous Madonna looked, black outfit with short top and straight brown hair (to be fair, this is still my favorite look of hers). Madonna, Angela and Caresse were discussing details when suddenly Madonna looked right at me. Silly ol’ me just couldn’t help but smile as if I was promoting a toothpaste brand. After what seemed like an eternity (but wasn’t of course) she closed her eyes and seemed to be meditating…..or was she simply trying to get a little sleep before entering the stage? Caresse Henry turned to look at me and smiled warmly, not long after this I got in touch with her, such a fantastic woman and such a loss.
I knew it was time for Madonna to perform when security arrived. Madonna made her way to the two step staircase and waited for the signal to come on. I wasn’t complaining, she was standing right next to me and even though she completely ignored me….I couldn’t help but stare at the most random things. How there was fluff on her shirt and loose hairs, what she smelled like (roses) and how incredibly tiny she was! Once she got on stage I was just stunned at her beauty, she was just so incredibly beautiful. As predicted she performed both American Life and Hollywood and spoke to host Cat Deeley in between takes. She also spoke a lot to the fans present and joked around. When someone told her she looked ‘stunning baby’ she simply responded ‘thank you baby’. Someone wanted to look at her ‘fire engine red’ shoes, so she lifted up the leg of her trousers and showed it to us. To be so close to her in such an intimate setting was a surreal experience, especially with THAT look and THOSE songs. Such a fantastic time to be a fan. After commenting to Cat Deeley she was going on tour next Summer (I didn’t believe her…..but yes the Re-Invention Tour happened), she exited the stage and left with her entourage.
We made our way to HMV next to buy the DVD release of ‘Die Another Day’ that came out that very same day. Madonna’s performance at CD:UK was shown on television the next morning, even though happy with the performance I was a bit let down that they had cut out most of her interview and jokes.
Here we are fifteen years later…..I still remember this particular performance as one of the best I ever attended. Madonna was just brilliant and it was just such a good era.
If you want to read my longer and more detailed live report on the American Life promo tour click HERE
Kimberly van Pinxteren
We have added this rare Like a Virgin U.S. promo set to the Like a Virgin page.
This promotional set contains the unplayed promotional white vinyl LP in gold stamped picture sleeve, a bio and promotional 8×10.
To check this and more out click HERE
Stay tuned for more Virgin rarities!
New items have been added to the following discographies:
- MADONNA – LP Germany, different sticker + publishers credits added on label
- Like a Virgin – LP Japan SAMPLE with extremely rare 4 page promo folder ‘A Star Is Born’ (pictured) more pics of this item will follow soon
- The First Album – Record Store Day 2018 Pic Disc
- You Can Dance – Record Store Day 2018 limited red vinyl
So Madonna just posted this on her Instagram to congratulate Steven Klein with his birthday, whom she’s worked with many times before (Secretprojectrevolution, X-STaTIC PRO-CeSS, Confessions Tour backdrop theme and so much more). Seems to be a recent photoshoot of some sort, Madonna posted related pictures before (one even resembling one of her outfits from the Re-Invention Tour) that seem to be from the same photoshoot. Could this be unrelated to MDNA Skin and be for a new project?
Time will tell
We have just updated the memorabilia section of the Like a Virgin page with this rare official large postcard to promote the album.
The back of the postcard simply states: Made in Germany by WEA Musik GmbH, a Warner communication company.
To check this and more out click HERE
More Virgin rarities coming up!
We have added this incredibly rare promo set for Madonna’s first album to its promo page HERE.
This set contains the U.S. pressing of her first album gold promo stamped on front cover and includes the official Sire 2 page yellow bio + original Sire black/white promo photo. We have also updated the ‘MADONNA’ album page with new images and direct links to the discography.
Check this and much more out HERE.
For most, Hard Candy is not a classic Madonna album like 1989’s Like a Prayer,1998’s Ray of Light or her eponymous 1983 debut. It’s generally not even considered on the level of its Grammy-winning predecessor, 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor. The album — which arrived stateside 10 years ago on April 29, 2008 — only spawned one top 10 single, “4 Minutes” (which hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100), while most of her previous studio LPs had multiple ones.
And even “4 Minutes,” a clattering collaboration with Justin Timberlake, Timbaland and some marching band, felt more like one of the Tims’ bangers than a Madonna song. In fact, probably the biggest quasi-knock against Hard Candy was that, with Timbaland, Timberlake and the Neptunes behind the boards, it found Madge working with A-list pop hitmakers for one of the rare times in her career up to that point. (Nile Rodgers, on 1984’s Like a Virgin, and Babyface and Dallas Austin, on 1994’s Bedtime Stories, also come to mind.)
Gone was the hip factor of William Orbit on Ray of Light, Mirwais Ahmadzaï on Music and American Life, and even Stuart Price on Confessions on a Dance Floor. There was almost a feeling that Madonna had sold out, as if one of the biggest pop stars in history could do that simply by trying to make popular music. That bad album cover — where she strikes a dominatrix-meets-prizefighter pose — certainly didn’t help matters.
But in retrospect, Hard Candy is, from start to finish, the last great Madonna album, if not up to her outright classics. There is no filler. There are no bad tracks. Zero. (Even the flamenco-flavored “Spanish Lesson,” a frivolous addition to Madonna’s catalog of Latin-infused nuggets, is a guilty pleasure.) The same can’t be said of the more beloved Confessions on a Dance Floor, another club-ready affair that had that forgettable moment when Esther took over on “Isaac.”
As the main men on Madonna’s producing and songwriting squad, Timbaland, Timberlake and the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) were in top form. On opener “Candy Shop,” which sets the sexy tone for the rest of Hard Candy, the Neptunes get the party pumping with an almost sinister slinkiness. There is really nothing sweet about this sugar — it’s just plain hot and raw.
That special Neptunes sauce clearly inspired Madonna to sound more erotic than she had since, well, 1992’s Erotica. Although the Neptunes also produced the second single “Give It 2 Me,” a classic Madonna anthem with a determined groove to match the lyric, they really hit peak level with the back-to-back tracks “She’s Not Me” and “Incredible.” Ranking among Madonna’s best deep cuts (put “Candy Shop” in that category too), the sassy “She’s Not Me” and the euphoric “Incredible” are both shape-shifting, six-minute epics that start on one dance floor and then transport you to another where the get-down goes on without missing a beat.
Later, on “Beat Goes On” (featuring Kanye West), the Neptunes channel Chic with a bumping bass line. And on the next track, the shimmering “Dance 2Night,” Timbaland and Timberlake keep the disco vibe twirling. Madonna and JT, grinding on and around each other, display even more chemistry on “Dance 2Night” than they do on “4 Minutes.” The Tims also worked on the ballad “Miles Away,” the album’s third and final single, which mixes the folktronica of Music and especially American Life with a stuttering Timbaland beat. “I guess we’re at our best when we’re miles away,” sings Madonna, hinting at the marital problems that led her to split with Guy Ritchie later in 2008.
In the end, Hard Candy was a sweet victory lap for Madonna as her last of 11 studio albums for Warner Bros., the label where she became the most famous female artist on the planet.
We have just updated the Hard Candy (yes, happy 10th) with many new promotional ads from magazines (as pictured), also added is a photo gallery with various promotional images from the era.
Click HERE to enjoy and revisit!
If you didn’t already know—Madonna has a skincare line. It’s called MDNA(naturally) and her newest product is called The Reinvention Cream (because of course). The creams, serums, and toners in the line are all designed around a blend of four healing thermal waters found in Montecatini, Italy.
In a sea of celebrity-endorsed beauty lines and products that promise glowier, smoother skin—MDNA stands out because it’s not only incredibly chic, but it’s also incredibly effective. “This isn’t just a vanity product, this is something I have been working on for five years,” Madonna exclusively told BAZAAR.com. “It’s important to me that the ingredients not only pure, but that they work. I stand by all of them, and I use all of them.”
The Reinvention Cream ($75) is the kind of genius, multi-use skincare we didn’t know we needed: a plush yet water-light cream that can be layered-on thick like an overnight mask, or dabbed on lightly like a serum. The blend of thermal water and resurrection plant stem cells will make skin look younger right away—and overtime, too. That’s probably why Madonna told us she rubs the formula over her entire body.
“Stem cells in skincare—they’re not new, but they are getting more advanced,” says Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a New York City dermatologist who allegedly sees Madonna as a patient. “We’re learning more and more about stem cells in skincare, we don’t have all the answers, but we know there’s a dramatic effect in skin quality and resilience and renewal.” Dr. Frank believes that the unique combination of skin-soothing thermal waters and plant stem cells results in stronger skin that can better protect itself from environmental aggressors that lead to the first signs of aging. “There is no one who can’t benefit from it,” he notes.
Read full article at Harper’s Bazaar
Madonna’s Hard Candy was released in Holland on April 24, 2008. The album was exclusively available for the first time on Thursday evening April 24 in music store FAME in Amsterdam, making it the worldwide premiere of its release. Hard Candy was a huge success in Holland and brought Madonna two number one singles: 4 Minutes and Give It 2 Me (the latter being an absolute Summer smash in Holland and spending various weeks at the top spot in the official charts).
To revisit the era, here are some useful links:
- Hard Candy album promo page (tons of rare memorabilia, press articles, video’s and more)
- Hard Candy photo gallery – release party FAME Amsterdam
- Hard Candy photo gallery – Olympia performance May Paris
- Hard Candy live report – Olympia Paris by Kimberly
Meanwhile check out our YouTube playlist containing all the official Dutch Hard Candy teasers and commercials, provided to us by Warner Music NL:
The title-track lead single was one of Madonna’s first bona-fide flops, certainly by her standards. It barely cracked the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 37. Even worse, it was the object of derision for her stiff, silly rap in the second half where she rhymes “latte” with “shoté” and “MINI Cooper” with “super-duper” and “trooper.” No one wants to hear Madonna rap about her lawyer, manager, agent, chef, nannies, assistant, driver, jet, trainer, butler, bodyguards, gardener and stylist. Not then, and not now. The failure of “American Life” made it hard for the album to recover with subsequent singles “Hollywood,” “Nothing Fails” and “Love Profusion” missing the Hot 100.
But revisiting American Life 15 years later, it deserves more love than it has gotten — it’s perhaps the most underappreciated album of Madonna’s catalog. Listening to it now, it certainly bests Rebel Heart and MDNA, and from a lyrical standpoint, it probably beats 2008’s Hard Candy and maybe even 2005’s beloved Confessions on a Dance Floor. In fact, with its confessional tone and commentary on the American Dream in the President George W. Bush era, American Life is easily one of Madonna’s better lyrical outings.
The strong lyrical perspective is complemented by the cohesive musical vision. Madonna worked with one producer, French electronic savant Mirwais Ahmadzaï, for the entire album—although there was additional production by Mark “Spike” Spent on “I’m So Stupid” and “Nothing Fails”—and they expanded on the folktronica experimentation they did on 2000’s Music. Indeed, if there is one Music song that served as the biggest touchstone for American Life, it’s “Don’t Tell Me,” with its twangy trip-hop. Madonna and Mirwais—who are back in the studio working on new music together in 2018—also co-wrote all but three of 11 songs together. With such a tight team, not one of the songs feels out of place (although the dramatic “Die Another Day” from the James Bond film of the same name feels like it should have been sequenced earlier in the record).
In retrospect, American Life—the last truly ambitious album that Madonna has made—also marked the end of a very important phase of her career. Having achieved new artistic depth with 1998’s Ray of Light and continued that creative spirit with Music, she was very much still in risk-taking mode on American Life. You might say those three albums—starting from an electronica base but veering in different directions—amounted to her Berlin Trilogy. On an aesthetic level, this period was Madonna at her Bowie-est.
“Love Profusion,” “Nobody Knows Me” and “Nothing Fails” make for a thrilling three-song sequence that displays varied moods and styles. While glowing with its sweet strumminess, “Love Profusion” faces some troubling uncertainties: “There are too many questions/There is not one solution/There is no resurrection/There is so much confusion.” The zig-zagging “Nobody Knows Me” packs a rock thump and a sense of disillusionment: “This world is not so kind/People trap your mind/It’s so hard to find/Someone to admire.” And “Nothing Fails”—the glorious, gospel-infused centerpiece of American Life—is nothing short of a latter-day “Like a Prayer.”
Elsewhere, “X-Static Process”—co-written by Stuart Price, who Madonna would go on to work with for much of Confessions on a Dance Floor—is a beautiful ballad rich in harmony and emotional directness. You can almost hear echoes of R.E.M. on that and the previous track, “Intervention.” Meanwhile, the solemn, string-laden “Easy Ride” may be one of the best album closers of Madonna’s career. The lyric nods to her notorious work ethic: “I want the good life/But I don’t want an easy ride/What I want is to work for it/Feel the blood and sweat on my fingertips/That’s what I want for me.”
American Life—which still sounds very modern and, in some ways, seems eerily prescient of Trump-era despair—feels more like the Madonna album for now than her recent efforts. It’s not a perfect album—“I’m So Stupid” is still irritating—but it’s the sound of Madonna challenging herself, and us.
It’s a Celebration!
Today marks the 15th birthday of an incredible record titled ‘American Life’. This was the second album Madonna worked on with Mirwais (and who she is currently in the studio with) after the hugely succesful ‘Music’ album. To read and see all about American Life visit our American Life album promo page. We have tons of original articles scanned and photographed a ton of (rare and unique) memorabilia. There’s also the photoshoot by Craig McDean in HQ. Here are some useful links:
- American Life – album promo page
- American Life – photo gallery (our own pictures)
- American Life – full live report on the promo tour in Cologne (Absolut Madonna) and London (CD:UK)
Also check out our American Life YouTube playlist: