The many faces of Madonna (tour spoiler)

May 23, 2004

By Donna Freydkin, USA TODAY
Look for volumes of Vogue, ample Erotica and a whole lotta Hollywood when Madonna dresses up for her Reinvention tour, which opens Monday in Los Angeles.

Will Madonna revisit her Jean-Paul Gaultier phase during her Reinvention tour?

The titan of transformation is making five eye-popping costume changes, stylist Arianne Phillips says.

"Madonna goes back and revisits older songs and reinvents them, so we used that same philosophy and theme with her costumes."

Perhaps the ever-evolving Madonna, 45, is delving into her past because her 2003 American Life album has sold an underwhelming 636,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

But Phillips has another explanation for the diva's nod to nostalgia:  "Madonna has always pooh-poohed the concept of reinvention and doesn't  strategize or premeditate her new look in a boardroom, so this is the  greatest ironic statement of all."

Not that Phillips, who has been working on Madonna's get-ups since March 1, is giving much away. We do know that Madonna doesn't don a single dress  during her show. And she wears T-shirts by Jean Paul Gaultier and shoes by Miu Miu.

But Madonna's costumes do reflect the show's five distinct flavors:

- The champagne-colored opening ensemble was created by French designer  Christian Lacroix, and the baroque look is "a real dazzler, a mix of historical period and contemporary modernism," Phillips says.

- The military rock 'n" roll-flavored second outfit was whipped up by Phillips herself and inspired by American Life.

- The classic, cool third ensemble is courtesy of pal Stella McCartney.  "This is the emotional focal point of the show," says Phillips, "and the costumes are quieter and more about silhouettes. Think of Madonna in her performance moments doing Vogue."

- Phase Four "has a European carnival feeling," Phillips says. And Madonna's  Chanel attire is "very dramatic and really fun." The colors are strong and graphic, and Madonna "gets to be a chorus girl. There's a lot of shaking and bouncing - it's very sexy and sassy."

- Madonna takes a bow in the final portion by donning another of Phillips" creations, this one a bit of an optical illusion to go along with the party  vibe. "She wears something that can be viewed as traditional but the way she wears it skews the way you see it," Phillips says.

First, Phillips says, Madonna puts together her top-secret set list. The

clothes come second. And practical considerations did guide Madonna's choices.

"She has to be able to move and have the freedom to sing because yes,  Madonna does sing live," Phillips says. "She plays guitar. And she dances  really hard and the choreography is very difficult."

She also wears corsets, which "restrict breathing but we have to work it out so they look good and she can still sing."

But music's ultimate hipster did put fashion before function. "She definitely suffers for her beauty," Phillips says. "She wears high heels through the whole show."
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