In 1855 Walt Whitman wrote, “My voice goes after what my eyes cannot reach, With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds.” These words are from what ultimately became his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass. A century and half later, the once-revered voices of poets are fading, as the world now listens to songwriters in their place.

One legend says that in 1977 a songwriter came to New York City with 35 bucks in her pocket. Her name was Louise Veronica Ciccone. At that time, she was simply an Italian-American 19-year-old girl from Michigan, who had dreams of becoming a dancer. 38 years later, this accomplished woman is kicking-off her 10th world tour, following the release of her last album “Rebel Heart”, which is, according to Time magazine, “the realest, and the best, Madonna has sounded in quite some time.”

Her world tour will make stops in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Arianne Phillips will be overseeing the wardrobe, a big responsibility considering how many major fashion designers are fighting each other over the chance to design for Madonna. The lucky ones are Alessandro Michele for Gucci, Jeremy Scott for Moschino, Alexander Wang, Fausto Puglisi, and Miuccia Prada. For the past six months, these fashion houses have been outlining, tacking and sewing more than 200 costumes for the dancers, the chorus, the crew but especially for her: the diva and star of the show.

tumblr_nuf21pcHoZ1r6jqq1o1_1280Fausto Puglisi, Moschino, Prada, Fausto Puglisi, Gucci, Arianne Phillips, Moschino, Alexander Wang
Photo Credit: WWD

The show starts with her song Iconic. Madonna is entrapped into a heavy cage, looking like something from the age of Joan of Arc. While she slowly lowers to the ground, she unveils her first costume by Phillips: a samurai dress closed with tight red satin bands and black leather boots. The dancers wear golden armor-like costumes imported from Asia. “There’s nothing to explain, she’s an icon,” states Alexander Wang, who adores her. In this section of the concert, Madonna sings Bitch I’m Madonna, Holy Water/Vogue, (with the dancers dressed as nuns) and Devil Pray, a fan favorite of the show.

alexLeft, Arianne Phillips; Center and right, Alexander Wang
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
The second part of the show starts with Body Shop, which has an Indian feel, and True Blue, back after more than 25 years in Madonna’s live show. The show continues with Deeper and Deeper,the ballads HeartBreakCity/Love Don’t Live Here Anymore, and finishes with Like A Virgin, which is still a crowd favorite generations later. Miuccia Prada curates the costumes of this section and has described them as “rockabilly meets Tokyo,” to underline the dark and intimate setting.niniPrada
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images; WWD

After a video-interlude with S.E.X./Justify My Love as a backdrop, Madonna comes on the stage covered by a very long cape designed by Puglisi, similar to the one designed by Armani and worn by her at the Brit Awards 2015, when she unluckily fell down. Some minutes later, Madonna transforms into a Matador. After Living for Love, the first single from Rebel Heart, fans can hear La Isla Bonita. Madonna wears a gypsy-inspired outfit sewn by Alessandro Michele that features a fringed, wide brimmed, lace skirt. Michele has talked of how he enjoyed this collaboration, saying, “I created my collection for Gucci at the same time I was working for the tour costumes, and after talking with Madonna, I understood her greatness.” After Dress You Up, Who’s That Girl and Rebel Heart, Madonna gets ready for her last costume change.

Fausto Puglisi, Gucci
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

It’s the grand finale. Jeremy Scott designs for the end of the soirée a Harlem chic dress inspired by the ‘20s, full of Swarovski crystals, because as he says, “No showgirl is complete without crystals.” Madonna sings Music, a hit from the year 2000, Candy Shop and Material Girl. The show ends with a cover of La Vie En Rose and Unapologetic Bitch. Madonna returns for an encore and sings Holiday, one of her first international successes.

Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

After a two-hour show with no intermission, recalling a live-theatre atmosphere, there are no doubts: Madonna is the Elizabeth II of music. And no one can take her crown away.


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