June 18, 2006

H&M dresses up Madonna & Co

By Michael Paoletta

NEW YORK (Billboard) - A partnership between Madonna and
global fashion retailer H&M may, initially, cause some to
scratch their heads. For many, Madonna has more in common with
Versace than H&M's inexpensive yet fashionable clothing.

But at the busy intersection of music and fashion, Swedish
brand H&M has signed on to supply Madonna and her entire
touring company (band, stage crew, dancers) with offstage
wardrobes during the artist's already-in-progress Confessions
Tour. (Madonna's onstage outfits for the trek are designed by
Jean-Paul Gaultier.)

Madonna and some members of her entourage will appear in an
H&M ad campaign that launches in August. At the same time, the
retailer will begin selling a specially designed track suit
that it created for the superstar artist. H&M stores also will
sell her latest CD, "Confessions on a Dance Floor."

In addition to appearing in high-end Versace campaigns,
Madonna was featured in a Gap ad campaign three years ago.

H&M, which has more than 1,200 stores in 22 countries,
markets its affordable fashions to all consumers, including
couture-conscious fashionistas. Two years ago, the brand tapped
Karl Lagerfeld to design a one-off collection for its fall
line. It did the same last year with Stella McCartney. This
year, Dutch design team Viktor & Rolf will do the fall 2006