EXCLUSIVE: The Scoop on Madonna's New Couture Costumes

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Madonna looks fiercer than ever on stage these days, and she has one man to thank for that On the opening night of the Material Girl’s Sticky & Sweet tour’s second leg July 4 in London, Madonna wowed fans with a new “super couture, sensual, Goth, bondage” costume that Givenchy Haute Couture’s Riccardo Tisci designed for her opening act. “What I wanted for the opening was to give a very iconic view of Madonna,” Tisci tells PEOPLE exclusively. “She’s wearing an outfit that will make history. I wanted to do something even stronger (than what he designed for her in the tour’s first leg) because she wants to be stronger.” Working with the Queen of Pop was easy, says Tisci. “I just met her six months ago and I’m completely in love with her,” he says. “She’s an artist but she let me express myself, which is rare. She knew what she liked from my collection and wanted me to translate that for her on stage.” He also designed a new dress for another part of her show. “She said she wanted to do colors,” he says. “I said why not? So we did fluorescent rosary necklaces (over a black dress.)” Tisci was also very impressed with Madonna’s ability to remain calm in the midst of so much activitity, rehearsing and putting her tour together. And yet, he says, “She was very calm and Zen. She is a Leo like me. For Leos to be calm and Zen takes time because we are very energetic. She was amazing.” And she’s not the only one rocking new costumes on the tour — Madonna’s male backup dancers looked newly sharp in Brooks Brothers Slim Fit ten-pleat wing collar and tennis collar white tuxedo shirts during the opening number of “Candyshop.”

And while Madonna may be strong, that doesn’t mean that she isn’t deeply feeling the death of friend Michael Jackson, paying homage to him midway through her Saturday night’s show at London’s O2 arena — where Jackson was scheduled to kick off his “This Is It” tour on July 13 — when one of her dancers burst onto the stage dressed in Jackson’s trademark fedora, sequined jacket, white t-shirt and white glove, boogeying to a medley of his megahits including “Wanna Be Starting Something.” “All right people!” Madonna said afterward. “Let’s give it up for one of the greatest artists the world has ever known: Michael Jackson! Long live the King!!!” And we say long live her Majesty. –K.C. Baker

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