Madonna retient sa fille pour éclipser sa célébrité.
As Lourdes launches her own risque fashion range, how Madonna is grooming her daughter to eclipse her stardom
By Richard Price
Last updated at 8:48 AM on 5th August 2010
The teenage girls who live on New York's Upper East Side are a privileged bunch.
The school run is by limousine, designer wardrobes are bought by the season and their handbags alone would cost the average child a decade's pocket money.
But while these cosseted youngsters while away their time in expensive boutiques and restaurants courtesy of their parents' platinum credit cards, one of their number is treading a very different path.
With her geeky glasses and train-track dental braces, she is oddly bookish.
It is only the careful co-ordination of her 'geek chic' outfits and the exquisite bone structure of her strangely familiar face that provide the clues that this is no ordinary schoolgirl.
She cycles two miles across Central Park to school at the Lycee Francais, her schoolbooks in a backpack, and her evenings are spent studying in the grand Edwardian apartment block she calls home.
Saturday begins at 6am sharp with a gruelling two-hour dance lesson. Then there are piano lessons, acting classes and endless hours spent learning Spanish and Italian (she is already fluent in French).
Such is life when you are Lourdes Ciccone and your mother is Madonna.
Now, at the grand old age of 13, Lourdes - known as Lola to her family - has unveiled her own fashion range.
'Lola has been bothering me for ages about designing clothes,' says Madonna. 'She has been around all my shoots and campaigns, and is always hanging out backstage. On my last two tours she worked in the wardrobe department and dressed the dancers.'
This is just one aspect of a life which, should everything go according to plan, will eclipse even that of her extraordinary mother.
Having spent years insisting Lourdes would avoid stardom and opt for a professional career in law or accountancy, Madonna's attitude has undergone a transformation.
Lourdes appeared onstage with her mother in Tel Aviv last year and in the video for Madonna's hit Celebration, performing a breakdancing routine and posing coquettishly in make-up and a wedding dress.
Now she is set to leave the Lycee and take up a place at the LaGuardia High School of Music & Art, whose alumni include Liza Minnelli and Al Pacino.
Lourdes is to be given the shot at stardom that she craves - but on her famously controlling mother's exacting terms. Cue a business plan worthy of a FTSE 100 firm.
Lourdes is being primed as the heir apparent, starting with her own fashion line, Material Girl.
The range includes jeans, shoes, fingerless gloves, necklaces and accessories inspired, we're told, by Lola's passion for quirky couture.
But the less than wholesome promotional pictures of Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen, 17, tangled-up in chains, wearing a black and white mini skirt and black biker boots have prompted questions of the suitability of such outfits for younger teenage girls.
Lourdes has been schooled for this since the age of eight, when she had a work experience placement with her mother's great friend, the fashion designer Stella McCartney.
However, her schoolwork is not allowed to suffer. 'She needs to focus on her studies,' says Madonna. 'She has a lot of work to do. I don't want her to be distracted.'
A gifted student, Lourdes gets top grades in every subject, taking full advantage of the opportunities her mother never had. She exercises daily and has a strict macrobiotic diet.
Visitors to the Madonna household have remarked on how Lourdes is surrounded by positive female role models, from publicists to lawyers and accountants.
'She wants Lourdes to feel the sky is the limit. By surrounding her with brilliant, successful women, she'll build her confidence to the point where anything is possible,' a source revealed.
'I have never met anyone in my life with the work ethic of Madonna. But if there's one person who comes close then it's Lola. She is a remarkable girl and much smarter than her mum.'
According to Madonna's inner circle, the only person this profoundly opinionated woman is prepared to take parenting tips from is Paul McCartney, who kept his children's feet on the ground despite his immense fame.
While Madonna would never send her children to a state school as Sir Paul did, she has gone to great lengths to ensure they do not take their privileged position for granted.
When Lourdes is sent gifts by companies hoping for publicity, Madonna insists they are given away to charity or sent back.
Even her social life is closely policed. What little free time Lourdes has is spent with a closeknit group of friends from the Manhattan Kabbalah Centre, the mystical offshoot of Judaism that Madonna follows slavishly.
Recently she even enjoyed a number of dates, including an appearance at the New York premiere of the film Nine, with a young Kabbalah follower called Marco - a relationship that Madonna insists is 'not serious'.
Besides, Lourdes is far too busy to have time for a boyfriend. In recent months she was preparing furiously for her audition for the highly competitive LaGuardia.
Then there are her frequent visits to Malawi with her mother, who is in the process of building a £10 million academy for girls while going through the controversial process of adopting her children David and Mercy, both four.
Sources close to the family say Lourdes encouraged her mother to press on with the adoptions, despite public criticism when it emerged that both 'orphans' had surviving parents.
For a girl born into privilege, she is said to be surprisingly humble. Certainly those who have met Lourdes in Malawi tell of a polite young girl with respect for local culture, which requires women to kneel when speaking to men.
'She knelt down when she greeted me, a thing I would not expect from a white girl, especially a rich, white girl,' says Binson Chinkhota, the chief of the village where Madonna is building her academy.
And Yohane Banda, the father of Madonna's adopted son, told me this week: 'I think David has a good sister in Lourdes.
'When I was meeting Madonna she came, knelt before me and greeted me. I was impressed with her.'
Lucy Chipeta, the director of the Home of Hope orphanage where David once lived, was even more lavish in her praise. 'She knows more of our language Chichewa than Mercy,' says Mrs Chipeta.
'Some children would greet Mercy in Chichewa and the little girl would get confused until Lourdes bailed her out.
'A local girl would ask how Mercy was and it would be Lourdes who replied: "Ndile bwino." ("I'm fine.")'
Lourdes also sends parcels of second-hand clothes to be distributed among the orphans.
Friends insist these gestures are typical of the girl, who shares her mother's fierce independence of spirit.
Like Madonna, she is relentlessly self-improving - witness her decision to eschew the family's chauffeur-driven Mercedes in favour of cycling to school.
Yet there have been some signs of rebellion.
These days she is the only person who dares to ever speak back to Madonna, following her mother's divorce from film director Guy Ritchie.
Visitors to the family home say that when Lourdes becomes tired of her mother's eavesdropping while she is chatting to her friends from the Lycee on the phone, she slips effortlessly into French, accompanied by a withering, and typically teenage, glare.
She is barely 13, of course, so it would be strange if there were not arguments.
Madonna, meanwhile-is hoping that by helping Lourdes to achieve at a young age she will stave off a full-scale teenage revolt.
Certainly the Material Girl collection has great potential as a money-spinner.
Collaborators Iconix support Lola's idea of launching a trademark fragrance as well as hair and skincare ranges aimed at teenagers.
As a palpably proud Madonna puts it: 'I see her more as a creative person, as an artist, and less as my daughter when we are working.'
So as Lourdes approaches her 14th birthday, as well as that move to a stage school, could Madonna finally be relinquishing her crown - and allowing her daughter to step into her shoes?
Source: Mail Online.
Mother's approval: The Material Girl fashion line is a collaboration with Madonna.