Sweeping into the Venice Film Festival, complete with a glamorous Forties-inspired wardrobe, it was clear Madonna was channelling Wallis Simpson, the two-time divorcee who rocked the British monarchy and is the subject of her new movie.At Thursday's premiere of W.E., the superstar singer looked stunning in a sensational butterfly pattern design created by Milan fashion house Vionnet and red sunnies, with her hair styled in old Hollywood waves.
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Earlier in the day, she'd imitated Mrs Simpson's famous monochrome look with a black 'ladies who lunch' day dress.Madonna, 53, told the press that she idenitifies with the glamorous American, for whom King Edward VIII abdicated.Which is why she felt so well-placed to write and direct the film, which depicts the Thirties love story alongside a modern-day breakdown of a New York marriage.She said: “It’s important to me not to make her a saint – not by any stretch of the imagination, because I don’t think she was – but to portray her as a human being.“What attracted me to this story? I was completely and utterly swept up in trying to understand the reason that this man, Edward VIII, would give up the throne for the woman he loved. I wanted to get to the bottom of it.”
Madonna explained that she felt a special connection to Wallis.“I identified with her in that I think it’s very common when people become celebrities or public figures or icons, that we are often reduced to a soundbite,” she said.“I think there was obviously some kind of subconscious attraction to her. I did go through periods of feeling I was an outsider when I first moved to England, but I didn’t feel like that when I had lived there 10 years.”Madonna – who lived in Britain with her ex-husband Guy Ritchie – also said the success of the Oscar-winning The King's Speech gives audiences a point of reference.She explained that the two films examine the same historic period from distinct points of view.
Madonna said she received support for the project from both her ex-husbands, Sean Penn and Guy.There was no sign of her current companion, 24-year-old French dancer Brahim Zaibat, with whom she holidayed on the French Riviera last week.Instead, she was supported by the film's young stars Andrea Riseborough wearing a lemon Christian Dior Couture creation and Abbie Cornish looking dramatic in a purple graduated floor-sweeper by Atelier Versace.