PHOTOS: The Costumes In Madonna’s Directing Debut Are All Couture

Sad truth: As much as most of us love fashion, we have a fairly limited appreciation of what the word couture actually means. Luckily, Madonna seems to be determined to bring that back with W.E., a movie she’s directing about the 1930s and 40s style icons the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

W.E. (it stands for Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII) stars Andrea Riseborough and James D’Arcy as the American heiress and the English royal, who at the time were one of the world’s most watched couples. Simpson had, in addition to being a Yankee, been married and divorced twice and was seen as an unfit match for the man who would someday be the king of England. But shortly after Edward was crowned, he abdicated the throne so that he could be with Wallis, and his brother Prince Albert assumed the crown.

Simpson became the Duchess of Windsor when she married Edward, which added a formality to a relationship that had already made her one of the most visible women of her time. The couple became more and more famous for their leisurely lifestyle and their singularly stylish mode of dressing — the Duchess was known for an admiration of sharp tailoring and the Duke had a tie collection most men today would kill for.

Madonna told Vanity Fair that their love story goes far beyond their appearance, but that the way they dressed was a huge part of the way they presented themselves to the world.

“It was easy to get swept up in the historical relevance and epic romance of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII,” she says. “The fact that they were also the fashion icons of their day added to their allure for me. Wallis was the epitome of style and grace, and Andrea Riseborough captured this and so much more.”

And there’s proof of that in the photos of Riseborough and D’Arcy in their costumes, which were created in collaboration with Cartier, Dior and Dunhill, just to name a few brands. The movie will debut on Dec. 9, but you can see more of these photos in Vanity Fair‘s September issue.

[Vanity Fair]

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