It was the most anticipated performance of the year and everyone wanted to see what she would be wearing. When Madonna stepped onto the stage at the Super Bowl half-time performance in a Roman centurion’s outfit designed by the brilliant Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy it safe to say that fashionistas all over the world almost wet themselves with excitement.
But behind every superstar there is a super stylist and in this case, that stylist is Swedish – cue fireworks and celebrations. B Åkerlund has worked with the most famous pop stars of today, including Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Black Eyed Peas, but said about Madonna’s Super Bowl performance that it “was by far the biggest challenge I have ever taken on in my career, and I could not be more honoured to be a part of such an amazing and historical event. […] Nothing could ever come close to working with Madonna on this Super Bowl performance, her attention to detail and commitment to all of her projects is truly inspiring and life changing.”
It was clearly a mammoth undertaking with 500 costumes for everyone from the Material Girl herself to LMFAO, Cee-Lo Green, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A, as well as 100 drum line performers, 150 gladiators and 200 choir singers.
Originally from Stockholm B. Åkerlund left for Los Angeles when she was 14. Since then she’s clocked up an impressive roster of music videos, often in tandem with her director husband Jonas Åkerlund, as well as styling world tours for Black Eyed Peas and Robbie Williams.
She is known for over-the-top dramatic styling and dramatic outfits from the most forward-thinking of today’s designers – an aesthetic that might not seem very Swedish but that works perfectly in the world of superstar music.
And for the Super Bowl performance it fit like a glove, giving classics such as Vogue, Music and Like A Prayer a backdrop of Roman, Egyptian, ecclesiastical and high school influences. Spelled out like that I’m not sure it makes sense but on stage and on TV it sure did. Watch it on YouTube if you don’t believe me.