Arianne Phillips Describes Her Work with Madonna
By now we all know Madonna collaborates with some of the biggest names in fashion. After all, she’s been combining music, fashion and politics for over twenty-five years. Jean Paul Gaultier’s architectural cone bra, Dsquared2’s denim, Moschino’s black and gold leather streetwear. Any mental image of Madonna incorporates a well choreographed pose dressed in a heightened version of what’s hottest in fashion at the moment.
However, maybe somewhat less known, Academy Award-nominated stylist and costume designer Arianne Phillips has put a lot of work into helping Madonna reach fashion icon status. Their relationship spans twenty years, surely making it one of Madonna’s longest lasting professional relationships. Recently, Phillips designed the first look from Madonna’s Rebel Heart Tour, for which she drew inspiration from John Galliano and Murmur.
In her interview with Billboard,
Phillips, who cites the 1998 “Frozen” video, the 2000 “Don’t Tell Me” video and the 1998 VH1 Fashion Awards as three of her favorite style moments, says that working with Madonna is both rewarding and challenging: ”She’s an artist who’s seen by the world.” (See videos below.)
So Arriane Phillips’ favorite Madonna style moments happened within a two-year span, apparently. We happen to be fans of her recent collaborations with Jeremy Scott and Moschino, and Gucci.
Fashion Collaborations, Expression of Power
The interview also explores Phillips’ work with designers, and Madonna’s use of fashion to express power.
How do you collaborate with fashion designers, like Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, who worked on the Rebel Heart Tour looks?
It can be challenging because the looks have to sustain the brutalities of dancing and sweating and moving every night, along with quick changes. Ninety percent of the time the costumes are not show-worthy, so what we do is rebuild them from the inside out, so they have the integrity and the look designers are trying to achieve.
Each look on Rebel Heart exudes power, as many of her looks have through the decades. Is “power” something you both consistently try to express?
Mostly what Madonna ends up wearing is an evolution of what is relevant at the time. I would say Madonna is a strong female artist who is attracted to just those things. The visuals reflect the music in a kind of seamless marriage of her point of view.
Billboard spoke with the Oscar-nominated Arianne Phillips about styling Madonna through the years.
Read Arianne Phillips’ full interview here.