Italian designer talks Madonna’s fur-filled ‘cowboy’ pad

Written by Anna Schreiber, CNN

Vinay Menon, fashion director for Dolce & Gabbana and behind fashion website nowmale.com , has been spied on the set of Madonna’s Miami Beach pad, the former home of famed fashion journalist Dominique Browning — a swift double turn on his list of the world’s most expensive pets.

And speaking to me on the phone from Milan, Menon isn’t the least bit surprised. “I think I would say it’s probably a bit of both,” he said.

The “little horse”

Madonna owns a selection of expensive cats, dogs and horses, with a long-standing and seemingly inexplicable love of large swaths of canvas horse covers, loose sheepskin sweaters and iconic jackets by Ermenegildo Zegna.

The fiery pink 1990 leather jacket of the millionaire rapper Kanye West, complete with bedazzled collar, widely attributed to the pop star, is a longstanding favourite. Madonna even worked with the Italian brand for years, including when she made an appearance on the cover of the 1996 men’s collection along with her dog Lola, in a dazzling white suit.

CNN’s Anjali Rao hangs out with fashion designer, Christopher Raeburn. Video by Ava Alsone/iStock

“She’s probably always had this overwhelming sentimental attachment to horses. She’s definitely carried around this thing with her since the ’80s and it’s been part of who she is and what she does, and I think she sort of carries it with her always,” Menon said.

Ranging from $70,000 to nearly a million

As for the millions of dollars in owner costs of these larger, more elaborate and owned dogs — well, Menon believes that they are also from an intangible, emotional and possibly mental “flaw” not driven by money.

“I think for everyone, in their most adult moment when they first come to adulthood they just like to fantasize about the person they’d like to be,” he said. “It could be anything. It could be a clothing brand. It could be a drug. It could be a genre of music. I think people will get attached to that and really take it to an extreme.

“There’s a certain mental weakness that we all seem to carry with us. You know — ‘Maybe I should own this,’ ‘Maybe I should own that,’ ‘Maybe I shouldn’t even be able to hold a toy.'”

Stoking the fire

Some of these playboy analogies do cross into counterfeit marketing, but the male-dominated industry of equestrian apparel has often been considered an ideal target for fakes.

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“Everybody knows that there’s a lot of counterfeit sportswear, and as a fashion and luxury brand, and as a designer, particularly, we want to look like what we create is the best,” Menon said.

When it comes to inspiration and authenticity, according to Menon, adoration of animals is a key ingredient.

“You know, there’s a lot of poor people around the world that are in a life-changing financial situation and with all those big piles of money they end up just buying very expensive designer shoes, designer clothes, designer bags, branded things, branded watches.”

But “every now and then you see somebody wanting to spend huge amounts of money on a rare, expensive book. Just not believing that the world can make sense through abstract ideas in great language.”

Madonna has been fighting to regain control of her Miami Beach property. We’ll update this post when we learn more.

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