Madonna's dream team of to-die-for designers

Forget the set list or the special effects. The burning question about the Material Girl’s first concert in Vancouver was, What would Her Madgesty be wearing?

For her Sticky and Sweet Tour, Madonna had assembled a dream team of to-die-for designers: Givenchy’s rising star Riccardo Tisci, Yves Saint Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, Jeremy Scott, and footwear by the likes of Miu Miu and Stella McCartney, all recruited by Madge’s long-time costume collaborator Arianne Phillips.

The results on the BC Place stage Thursday night were perhaps less iconically theatrical than Jean Paul Gaultier’s weaponlike torpedo bras in 1990’s Blonde Ambition Tour.

But what the parade of hot-designer duds lacked in cartoonish exaggeration it more than made up for in sleek, couture beauty. The highlight of the night was Givenchy’s gypsy-inspired number mid-way through the show, a black mini dress set off by flowing, gauzy puff sleeves and multicoloured, ethic-inspired embroidery, all topped with cascades of layered fuchsia beads. Boho has never looked this badass.

And for sheer drama, you had to love the crystal-studded shoulder pads, metal-fronted bustier, and quilted black-satin pants—call it the Glam Quarterback, a getup only Madonna could pull off, and one of the most original creations on the program.

Givenchy’s opening sequence black bodice, fishnets, and white top hat was one of the outfits that failed to inspire; it may have been some kind of dominatrix-flavoured salute to the jazz days, but all I could keep thinking of were those cheesy old Hochtaler ads. And the mid-section’s ode to Madonna’s old-school New York days, with its ’70s-field-hockey-team track shorts and tube socks, was well-suited to her double-dutch routine and not much else. Then again, I’ll take any of these over Confessions on a Dance Floor’s purple leotard.

Still, it may have been Sticky and Sweet’s footwear fetish that will have the most lasting effects on fashion. More than a few fans will be trolling Vancouver shoe stores for some tall, lace-up granny boots with sky-high heels before the day is over. Still, chances are they won’t be able to dance like Madge in them.