Last year, I started working with Madonna on her movie W.E. It was an amazing opportunity to work again with a long time friend, Arianne Phillips, who was the costume designer on this movie.
I’ve gushed about Arianne before as one of the most humble and creative people I know. She recently has designed the wardrobe with Tom Ford for An Ordinary Man.
I got the chance to comb through the history of Wallace Simpson and her love for jewelry. Prince Edward had designed many of the pieces he gave her and would write, in shorthand, secret messages on the back. One of his designs was the Cartier Panther.
It was great fun to do the movie! Here are some sketches and images of the jewelry I designed…
Above and below, pictures of the couple.
Here’s a quick synopsis of the movie:
W.E. tells the story of two fragile but determined women – Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) and Wallis Simpson – separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Winthrop is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward VIII’s abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcee Wallis Simpson. But Winthrop’s research, including several visits to the Sotheby’s auction of the Windsor estate, reveals that the couple’s life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, the film intertwines Wally’s journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D’Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unraveling of their lives in the decades that followed. This infamous 20th century couple had a reputation for being defiant, audacious, having exquisite taste, and living extravagant lives. “Wallis and the duke both made a lifestyle out of presentation… it was a beautiful façade. He said that because she never got a title he gave her jewelry to make her feel royal,” explains Phillips.