As previously reported, last week, at Macy’s in New York City, Coty Prestige staged the official reveal of its Truth or Dare by Madonna fragrance.
Madonna showcases her debut fragrance, Truth or Dare, at the official launch event in New York City
The superstar walked the red carpet outside the store, in front of an adoring audience of fans, before participating in an electrifying consumer Q&A, with fans who had purchased a special US$151 Truth or Dare fragrance package at Macy’s (which included the 2.5oz and 1.7oz edp, a body lotion, MDNA CD, T-shirt and a Truth or Dare DVD).
This was followed by interviews with a select group of international media. The launch concluded with an after-party at The Lambs Club.
The Q&A session, held in a marquee outside Macy’s, featured around 300 of Madonna’s fans. During this consumer press conference, Madonna autographed a fan’s arm (to later be tattooed), and sang I Love New York with the crowd.
A video montage of the highlights from the official launch event of Truth or Dare by Madonna
Clad in a black lace Dolce & Gabbana dress, accessorised with sky-high Louboutins, Madonna made her entrance in some style, to prolonged screams of adulation from the crowd. “Have you guys smelled my perfume?” she asked them. “Is it everything? Say it, say it’s everything. OK, good.”
Madonna set the scene by explaining why she had waited until now to launch a fragrance. “Wearing perfume and smelling good has been a big part of my life; I’m a big scent person,” she noted. “Over the years I have been approached by various people and fragrance companies to create a perfume, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to create a smell that I really love, that I can stand by, and that I can also mass produce.”
"Wearing perfume and smelling good has been a big part of my life; I’m a big scent person. Over the years I have been approached by various people and fragrance companies to create a perfume, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to create a smell that I really love, that I can stand by, and that I can also mass produce."
This was followed by some light-hearted banter with a fan, who asked Madonna if she was planning on coming to a gay nightclub to support the launch of her new MDNA album.
“Are you inviting me?” shot back Madonna, to general screams of delight. “Planning on coming [to perform] at a gay club, or just hanging out? Because the thing is, I’m really busy rehearsing and I’m so tired at the end of every day, so the only thing I really could do is hang out. Would that be ok? Have a little cocktail? Get a little tipsy?”
When asked what she would do if she could change the world, Madonna answered with a smile: “Let’s start with the way everyone smells…That’s the frivolous answer,” she added. “If I could change the world, I would like to live in a world where there was no prejudice, where people have the freedom to be who they are, to believe in what they want to believe in. That would be a good start."
The topic then changed to fashion, with one fan asking Madonna if she danced better in high heels or flat shoes. “It depends on the style,” she mused. “When I did the Super Bowl, the dance that LMFAO do, the shuffle, it’s really hard to do in heels. I have to say, I would prefer to do the shuffle in sneakers. But it really depends.”
She added: “You know, if you want to drop it like it’s hot, it’s good to wear flats, because then your booty gets really low to the floor. But then, there are things you can do in heels that you can’t do in sneakers [to raucous applause] and you all know what I’m talking about.”
Strike a pose, scent is in Vogue: after years of speculation, Madonna finally enters the fragrance arena
When asked to choose one song from her back catalogue that best summarised her fundamental artistic message, Madonna chose Express Yourself, and quoted the lyric ‘Don’t go for second best, baby’.
The talk then turned back to fragrance, when a fan asked Madonna if there was a particular memory of her mother that inspired Truth or Dare [Editor’s note: Madonna’s mother, who passed away when the superstar was still a young child, was an important inspiration for the project.]
She replied: “My mother was always wearing Fracas and I always remember her smell. But particularly [I remember] when I would wake up early in the morning and I would come into my parents’ bedroom at night, and try to sneak in between my mom and my dad and have a couple of hours of quality time, and I always smelled the smell of gardenias and tuberose on my mother. I wanted to create a fragrance that reminded me of her.”
Madonna banters masterfully with around 300 fans during a Q&A session held outside Macy's
The adoring audience couldn't get enough of their idol, who had the crowd in the palm of her hand
The write stuff: Madonna autographs a superfan's arm, to later be tattooed
When asked to divulge the secret of being such a successful recording artist for so many years, Madonna replied without hesitation, “Loving what I do. I love what I do. I love making music. Music is everything.”
But despite all that she has achieved in life, Madonna revealed she still has unfulfilled ambitions. “I learned to ski this year, and that was the most thrilling experience,” she explained. “My children got really good at snowboarding, and I was jealous of them, so that’s my next goal in life. I want to learn how to snowboard. I just hope there are no paparazzi there to catch me falling on my ass every two seconds.”
As the consumer Q&A drew to a close, Madonna was asked if there was anything she feared. “Yes, my fear is not knowing things,” she answered. “Not being in control. Not knowing what lies ahead. And also, meeting people who are ignorant and prejudiced and judgemental. I fear that, yeah.”
Madonna concluded by answering the question ‘what is it that impresses you most about your fans?’. “Their loyalty,” she replied. “I do not take it for granted. Thank you.”
Face-to-face with the Material Girl Following the consumer Q&A, a small group of international journalists were ushered into Macy’s for a round table interview with Madonna, where she told The Moodie Report: “It seems like all the things I like are really expensive. One of the hardest things to recreate is the smell of rose – a real rose. An authentic rose smell is quite challenging. That’s something I’ve learned over the years, while trying to create a fragrance.
Walking the red carpet outside Macy's, amidst a media frenzy and a wall of noise
“I used to live in the English countryside and there were wild roses that grew there, and they were narcotic and I tried to recreate that. I had people come out and extract things from the bushes and do all sorts of experiments, but we could never recreate that smell.”
Madonna added: “So then I decided to go back to the smell of gardenias, which are always around me…and have always been a big part of my life. In my homes in Los Angeles and Miami, I’ve always had gardenia plants around the house. People associate gardenias with me and it was not so difficult to recreate that smell in a perfume, so I was happy about that.”
Madonna spoke knowledgeably about the fragrance creative process, showcasing a wisdom that she says she picked up from years of working with various noses and companies. “I spent time smelling things, and learning about what makes a perfume and all the notes and the work that goes into creating something,” she explained. “[I learned] how you can add or subtract something and it can make such a big difference; [how to create] a fragrance that lasts; how there’s just so many elements that go into making a fragrance – and then being able to mass produce it. That’s the real challenge.”
"I spent time smelling things, and learning about what makes a perfume and all the notes and the work that goes into creating something. [I learned] how you can add or subtract something and it can make such a big difference, [and how to create] a fragrance that lasts."
Madonna revealed that if she had to pick just one of her songs to describe Truth or Dare, it would be Beautiful Stranger. As for the outfit that would best complement the fragrance? “A black corset and a pair of fishnet stockings," she smiled. "Why not? Because they’re kind of sexually provocative and daring. The truth part is what I’m telling you.”
Madonna admitted that while she liked making an entrance – and surely nobody who saw her recent Super Bowl performance was in any doubt about that – she pointed out that in real life, things are sometimes a little more low-key.
“Doing the Super Bowl had to be an extravaganza,” she pointed out. “Not only was I entertaining a stadium full of people, but it was also half-time at one of America’s most important sporting events, and I knew that there would be people watching all around the world. I felt like what I did in that show had to translate on every level.
“Now when I walk into a room, I don’t feel like I have such a responsibility, but it is nice to make an entrance. I am a Leo, so I think looking good and smelling good is very important…But sometimes, I just don’t have time [to make that sort of impact]; I show up to rehearsal every day with wet hair in my tracksuit. So sometimes one doesn’t have time to make an entrance, one just shows up at work.”
Madonna has partnered with her daughter Lourdes on a number of projects, and also sought out her opinion about Truth or Dare. “[Working with her] is good,” she explained. “She has very strong opinions. She knows what she likes. She has a good sense of style. Sometimes we disagree on things…but I like the way she dresses and often it’s fun to collaborate with her, because she does have a strong sense of self.
“I can always go to her and say, ‘does this look ok? Is this good? No? Shoes? No? High waisted? Low waisted?’ She’s a pretty good judge. It’s good to work with her. She’s very critical.”
Madonna with Coty CEO Bernd Beetz at the official Truth or Dare launch event
When asked if she had any beauty icons, Madonna racked her brains and eventually came up with Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. “Why? Because she wasn’t a conventional beauty. She had a very strong face…and she didn’t try to get rid of her moustache, or her [monobrow], whereas other people would try to do what was accepted by society at that time.”
They say you should never meet your heroes. Well, sometimes they say wrong. For this writer, meeting Madonna last week in New York City, at the launch event for her debut fragrance Truth or Dare, was an unrivalled “pinch me” moment, in a 16-year travel retail career that has contained a whole host of amazing experiences. On no level did she disappoint.
Madonna continued: “I think what makes a woman most beautiful is when she’s proud of who she is and the way she looks, and owns herself and doesn’t try to hide things, or change things, or make something up that doesn’t exist or apologise for who she is or what she looks like. That’s who I look up to.”
Madonna claims that her own beauty routine varies according to her schedule. “It depends on what I’m doing,” she explained. “I have a tendency to get up with my kids when they go to school and then go back to sleep and sneak in a few more hours, because I don’t usually get to bed until quite late. So I wake up twice – or I wake up once, and I’m very grumpy the rest of the day.
“I splash cold water on my face and I use those Japanese eye drops that really burn your eyes, and that makes me wake up. [At night] I always brush and floss my teeth. And I don’t think I’ve ever gone to sleep with make-up on. I always hang up my clothes and wash my face.”
When pressed on her skin care preferences Madonna revealed: “I use so many different products. There’s this new line of products called Éminence, made with natural ingredients, and that’s what I’m using right now. Everything they make smells like food: there’s a blueberry facial cleanser, a toning serum that smells like raspberry and a divine body scrub that smells like coconut. It’s really good.”
Formidable females: Madonna with Coty Prestige Senior Vice President Catherine Walsh
But what Madonna really yearns for in her beauty arsenal is an all-over moisturiser designed to counter the unwelcome effects of air travel. “Somebody should create something that you could have on an aeroplane that doesn’t make you feel like you are completely and utterly dehydrated,” she commented. “Something you could just spray everywhere, [all over] your hair and your skin.” Coty, take note.