Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone….AKA ..Madge…or quite simply …the ‘Queen of Pop’ is one of the most photographed and recognised celebrities in the world. Madonna IS THE BIGGEST selling female artist of all time with over 300m album sales and is regarded as one of the most influential cultural icons EVER!

She is quite simply…the ‘Queen of Reinvention’

Whilst record sales aren’t as they were in the 80’s and 90’s , Madonna never fails when it comes to touring …whether is in a huge stadium arena or whether it’s in a smaller more intimate venue she sets the standards for all other artists. Madonna also holds many records and has some of the highest grossing tours of a female artist….the box office receipts are astronomical!

To date , Madonna had embarked on 11 concert tours the last being the Madam X Tour…2019…cut short by the pandemic!

The ‘Queen of Pop’ broke new ground in 1990 with her iconic ‘Blond Ambition Tour’…. yes BLOND no spelling error here!!

I witnessed that tour twice…once at Wembley Stadium and then at Bercy in Paris…only six feet away from a minuscule lady…but what a powerhouse!!!

‘Blond Ambition’ is still heralded as one of the first full on  theatrical worldwide live tours setting a trend for every other icon and wannabe to follow.

30 years after Madonna’s American ‘Like a Virgin Tour’ the ‘Queen of Reinvention’ embarked on her visual spectacular ‘Rebel Heart Tour’.

This tour was seen by over 1m people and grossed more than $169m worldwide adding to her vast fortune!

Press and critics reviews were mostly very kind…some saying it was the first time since her ‘Drowned World Tour’ back in 2001 that she really reached out emotionally to her audience and fans.

She regularly acknowledged the crowd and fans support saying…

“Finally, I made it to the top — thank you!” …then ironically she said “You know what they say: it’s lonely at the top, but it ain’t crowded.”

Despite her reputation for being late every night performing, Madonna fans did not seem to mind that much… she was always fashionably late and never apologised for it either.

The energetic Rebel Heart Tour was performed by an extremely athletic and inspired ,then 57 year old Madonna .The stage set visuals were amazing , always are…BUT  costumes were something else…

Looking at the show there was  an amazing eclectic mix of costume design… ‘Her Highness’ was dressed up as an elaborately designed samurai, matador, and also too in flapper outfits. The theatrical flair was mesmerising.

“ I remember when I was told the news of working on Madonna’s next world tour. 

I felt like I was an audience member, watching it all play out and not believing a word of it! It was such a big break.”…..

Enter and welcome to Richard Quartley Art….Richard Coleman III …fashion designer and costume maker…. I’ve known Richard for a few years now…we met on IG…. I got to know Richard and he told me extensively about his time physically making the costumes for the ‘warrior’ section of the Rebel Heart Tour”…

I enquired if Richard ever had the chance to speak to ‘ Her Majesty’… as resounding NO came back as the answer..

Talking to the Queen was forbidden unless you personally knew her…

I was waiting one day for a chance for us two Richards to collaborate ….that has now happened .

YOU CAN own a part of pop history!!!!

Richard created NOT 1 BUT 3 beautiful illustrations inspired by his memories of making those costumes . Included in the illustrations are shads of leather that were ACTUALLY from the original REBEL HEART TOUR costumes!

AN ABSOLUTE MUST for any Madonna fan.

Here are Richards memories of his time back in 2015…. what an INCREDIBLE story….

It was the summer of 2015 when I was told our team at Halsey Onstage in Chicago would be making some of the costumes for Madonna’s new Rebel Heart tour. We would be joining such creative forces as Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Prada and so many more.  It was like a mad thrilling dream come true.

I grew up in Michigan, just like the Queen of Pop herself. I had always looked up to her for leaving her small town and going after her dreams. I was filled with excitement to be a part of such a legacy. 

The costumes were all designed by Arianne Phillips; they had this beautiful Eastern Asian influence with a heavy Samurai feel for the men. We built the costumes for the opening two songs; Iconic and BitchI’m Madonna.

Tasked with women’s and men’s shoulder-armour and helmets, all totalling around forty eight pieces and to be done within a month, we had our work cut out for us!

Gorgeous rich smells of leather filled the shop; with bolts of patent black and metallic gold leathers ready to be cut and sewed.

Our boss, Travis Halsey, made me in charge of the men’s shoulder-armour with the help of Redding Baker and three others. Travis oversaw the rest of the work with Mio Guberinic, Rachel Finzen and two other helpers. 

The month sailed by with every stitch; frenzied weeks ending, with everything finally being packed into four large boxes and shipped off to New York City. I was one of the lucky ones who was going to fly there, meet the costumes and fit the dancers. It was my first time to the Big Apple and I was over the moon to see the city that never sleeps. 

Coincidentally, it happened that we were scheduled to fit the dancers’ costumes on the same day as Madonna’s birthday, so we got a little more time to settle before the building was bursting at the seams with the whole crew. It might have been the Queen of Pop’s birthday, but I got the gift of a lifetime when I was able to sit in and watch her go through a rehearsal with the dancers. 

Travis, Rachel and I were there with maybe just five other people in the room; I was bewitched on the spot. I will never forget Madonna sitting on the edge of the stage as she serenaded us with La Vie En Rose – it was pure magic. 

Richard Coleman III .

We may collaborate on some female costume illustrations….WATCH THIS SPACE!

Richard Quartley.