"I wanted something casual but naughty, sensible but sexy. That's me. That's how I am. I wanted the collection to be for a working girl," Madonna recently told WWD about the launch of her new M by Madonna for Swedish mass fashion chain, H& M. "This is a combination of outfits I would love to wear. Bits and pieces have been inspired by the outfits in my own wardrobe, and also by what I love, like kimonos or my favorite Seventies vintage dress with the butterfly sleeves. I bought it in New York 10 years ago, and have worn it down to threads."
Unlike their other collaborations with A-list fashion talent – including Viktor & Rolf, Stella McCartney & and Karl Lagerfeld – once H&M launches the line on March 22, it won’t be limited to flagship stores but will be available in 26 countries. The capsule collection includes dresses with kimono styling, walking shorts, pencil skirts with a cummerbund waist detail, trenchcoats, cropped leather jackets & tailored jackets, white shirts – and an array of accessories: skinny belts, clutches, boots & sunglasses. Prices for the clothing will range from 15 euros or $20 (a bodysuit) to 250 euros/$330 (leather trenchcoat); accessories will start off at 10 euros/$13 (scarf with an M-print) to 100 euros/$130 (leather purse).
As always, the challenge for a chain like H&M is to balance high design with a mass pricepoint. "I think my biggest challenge was to make clothes that looked chic, sophisticated and expensive, but that weren't expensive. Going into this, I made a promise that I wouldn't design anything that I wouldn't wear myself." Such as Versace, apparently, given that the print ads shot by Steven Klein are extremely reminiscent of a previous Versace campaign Madonna shot with him.
While celebs like Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez & Beyonce have launched their own fashion lines to mixed commercial & critical success, Madonna will probably follow in the footsteps of Gwen Stefani; her L.A.M.B. line does extremely well, primarily because the songstress has so much credibility. When fans buy a celeb’s line, they are trying to buy their look; if it’s believable that the celeb would actually wear the line, then they create the necessary credibility that a celeb designer line needs to succeed commercially.
- Lesley Scott