Designers with the international stature of Riccardo Tisci are not
often asked to dig into their immense archives to create a Super Bowl ensemble. But then, Madonna has never performed during the half-time of America’s most watched game.
The creative director of Givenchy, who has previously worked with Madonna, took the helm of costume design per Madonna’s request. He told Vogue:
“Following my collaboration with Madonna on her last tour three years ago, it is a great honour for me to be a part of yet another historical and iconic moment ... People say everything has a limit, but limits do not exist with Madonna. I am so happy that, after being busy in other scenes, she decided to go back on a music stage. Not only to bring us music, but also to make such a statement of performance and fashion."
The singer was carried out in a chariot of sorts, wearing a floor-length, hand-embellished gold cape with metal cut outs, crystals and crystal-studded headdress. Madonna revealed an equally exquisite black mini dress with a hand-studded belt and shorter leopard-printed cape as she began dancing to “Vogue.”
A black coat complete with black sequinned embellishments, fingerless, leather-studded gloves and black thigh-high boots completed the trifecta of costumes, all of which she managed to change while on stage.
The elaborate, couture creations helped the 53-year-old reinvent herself — yet again — and carry off a captivating performance. Amid the sea of lackluster commercials and a sporting matchup the country watched four years prior, “only Madonna can be said to have outdone herself, executing a flashy half-time tribute to her own image (“Y-O-U, Madonna”) but also honoring the concept of longevity and old-fashioned pop stardom,” the Post’s TV critic Hank Steuver wrote.
Part of the ingeniousness of her so-called self tribute was her reinterpretation of her most successful moments in music and fashion into something that felt fresh and relevant.
The studded leather Cleopatra garb, and crowds of centurion-looking men, was a clever play on her sensational Victorian-themed performance at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. A full revisit to the period would have surely been scorned by even her most devoted fan base, but the decision to conjure an era of gladiators felt current, like it may have exploded out of the Givenchy workroom, or from its counterpart at Gucci.
In an even more youthful set, Madonna stripped down further to a pleated black skirt, and strode around the stage between Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. who were similarly dressed in Egyptian cheerleader looking ensembles. Their elaborate headpieces, stationed over Minaj’s bleach blond wig (a nod to Madonna’s Blond Ambition Tour?) were made by Erickson Beamon.
For the closing song, her decades old hit “Like a Prayer,” Madonna donned a choir-like robe (that is, if choirs were bedazzled in shimmering sequins) and alongside Cee Lo Green, drove home the idea that she may still be the queen of theatrical pop performances.
Was her performance the best in Super Bowl history? Cast your vote in our performance poll.