In this weekly feature, InStyle’s Fashion News Director Eric Wilson shares his favorite fashion moment of the week, and explains how it could shape styles to come. Look for it on What’s Right Now every Friday.
The Moment: Let’s take a gander at the new Versace spring advertising campaign, images of which were released this week, that shows Madonna looking remarkably fabulous and typically fit. As a true-blue fan for decades, with a box full of cowboy hats, decorative belt buckles, fishnet gloves and questionably gaudy crucifix pendants collecting dust somewhere in a closet, I’m always game for a new Madonna look, but this one, in a surprising way, struck me as pleasingly nostalgic.
What intrigued me about this campaign, at least the fourth Versace appearance for Madonna, was a comment from Donatella Versace that appeared in The New York Times. “When Madonna asked me on set, ‘Which character do you want me to play?’” Versace said, “I answered, ‘I want you to be Madonna and yourself.’ And she laughed at me.”
Why It’s a Wow: The sleek black and white ads, photographed by the artistic team of Mert and Marcus, got me excited because they recall the glamorous 1990s supermodel imagery created for Versace by Richard Avedon. The images are as much about the pose as the clothes. And who better to strike one?
Also, there is the reappearance of Madonna’s belly button: While the exposed abdomen has become the prevailing look of haute Hollywood over the last year, through cutouts and crop tops seen on every red carpet imaginable, the navel is almost never seen in public. Or at least not in the way it was in the 1980s, Madonna’s being the subject of as much commentary, at times, as her music. In 1985, responding to the fuss about it, she told Time magazine, “I think there are other unobvious places on the body that are sexy and the stomach is kind of innocent. I don't have a really flat stomach. I sort of have a little girl's stomach. It’s round and the skin is smooth and it’s nice. I like it.”
In one image from the new Versace campaign, wearing a sort of graphic-slashed tube top (pictured, below), Madonna recreates her early pose, now with a stomach that is as flat and toned as if sculpted of marble. Will it cause people to talk? Is a navel is not all that provocative anymore? When Madonna is being herself, most definitely.
Learn More: Remember some of Madonna’s previous advertising forays for Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace, or take a trip back to last year’s Versace campaign starring Lady Gaga.