NEW YORK — Madonna and child descended on Macy’s Herald Square Wednesday evening to promote the Material Girl junior line they co-design — and revealed she has even more fashion brands in the works.
This story first appeared in the September 23, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The pop icon, along with her daughter, Lourdes Leon, and Taylor Momsen of “Gossip Girl,” the face of the brand, drew throngs of screaming, shouting spectators that stretched from 34th Street to 35th Street and all along Broadway as they walked the pink carpet outside the landmark department store. Media ranging from every daily newspaper to CNN and “Access Hollywood” also lined the pink carpet, while more than 60 photographers were penned in to snap every step Madonna took.
Madonna, though, was more eager to push her daughter Lourdes, who she said was the main force behind Material Girl, the first fruits of the venture between the singer’s MG Icon LLC and Iconix Brand Group. And there are more lines on the way: Madonna told WWD that the next projects from the deal will be a workout line and a lingerie collection for adults, which will be separate brands. She declined to reveal the timing of those lines, although Iconix executives said they hope to have additional products under the venture at retail by spring.
On Wednesday, though, the main focus was on the Material Girl. Madonna — clad in a black Alexander McQueen dress accessorized with Material Girl leather gloves, studded belt, fishnet stockings — said the thing she learned most from doing the collection is that her daughter “has a very good sense of what works and what doesn’t. She has a great sense of style and I can totally leave her on her own. She pretty much ran all the meetings while I was doing other things,” like directing the movie “W.E.,” which she just finished shooting earlier this week. “I’ve been living in a bubble the last couple of months working on the film.”
As for Lourdes, she said of the project: “I learned how to compromise a lot and if you’re going to do something, stick to it through the very end.”
In terms of any disagreements between the two, Madonna said, “If I really don’t like something, I can be quite loud, but for the most part I like what she does.”
But she doesn’t always like what her daughter wears, Madonna indicated. “I’m strict about how my daughter dresses. When she wears short shorts, I make her wear tights with them,” she said.
Macy’s devoted six windows on the Broadway side of the store to the Material Girl line, each emblazoned with, “Who’s That Girl?,” a reference to the hit Madonna song of the Eighties — and movie bomb of the same name.
The event was held in the fourth-floor junior department, where Macy’s allotted space for 350 shoppers. Each attendee had to buy $75 worth of Material Girl merchandise, beginning on Sunday, to acquire a lanyard that provided entrance to the event. Macy’s publicized the event with in-store signage and a full-page advertisement in The New York Times.
The room was bathed in pink lights as the singer’s manager, Guy Oseary, escorted Madonna to an area that looked more like an ad hoc nightclub than a store — Madonna music was playing, multiple disco balls hung from the ceiling and there wasn’t any merchandise in sight. Instead, a raised stage had been installed for a dance performance.
Material Girl launched in 200 Macy’s doors on Aug. 3 for the back-to-school season. The collection includes apparel, footwear, handbags, jewelry and hair accessories, with most items retailing for between $12 and $40. Special “wow” items include studded leather jackets and crinoline dresses, which retail for up to $80.
The initiative is part of a Macy’s effort to rethink its juniors business and win market share from fast-fashion retailers like Forever 21, H&M and Zara.
“It’s been fantastic. Such an explosive launch,” said Lanie List, chief merchandising officer of Iconix Brand Group Inc., which engineered the Material Girl deal with Macy’s. “This event really shows how committed Madonna is to the Material Girl line.”
List said Madonna and Iconix will likely announce fashion launches in the coming months that should hit retail in 2011. Unlike Material Girl, these lines will be aimed at adults, such as a potential activewear label that leverages Madonna’s well-known dedication to physical fitness.
In the Material Girl line, List said the best-performing pieces have been the novelty, fashion-driven items in the collection, including limited edition designs inspired by Lourdes Leon’s own closet. The 13-year-old was at Iconix headquarters on Friday looking at merchandise options for next season’s collections, said List, as well as choosing her outfit for last night’s event.
“We’re focused on rolling Material Girl out into additional categories, including swim and intimates and expanding the dress assortments,” added List. “We launched footwear with ballet flats this season, but we’re going to expand into a full footwear collection going forward. It’s all under discussion.”
Despite List’s upbeat assessment of the Material Girl launch, the line has not been immune to markdowns. When WWD visited the Material Girl shop on Wednesday morning, a number of racks were marked down 50 percent.
Material Girl is the first project from MG Icon, which was unveiled in March with partners Madonna, Oseary and Iconix. A second MG Icon deal, a co-branded eyewear line with Dolce & Gabbana under the MDG label, hit stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Sunglass Hut in May.
Under terms of the venture, MG Icon holds the right to use Madonna’s name and associated personality for apparel, footwear, accessories and other products. Madonna also provides creative input and endorsement services in connection with the development and marketing of the venture’s brands and projects.
Iconix paid Madonna and Oseary $20 million, plus potential earn-outs, for its 50 percent interest in MG Icon, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.