Photo: Instagram/ravenhearthair, themadonnabible
When you look in the middle of the venn diagram of fashion, music and powerful ball-busting women, there’s a high chance that you’ll see Madonna Louise Ciccone in the middle. In the fashion circle, she has gone from dressing like Marilyn Monroe and ‘80s disco yoga freaks to hip-hop divas and power suiting, and in the music circle, she has sung everything from ‘20s flapper tunes to early noughties fist-pumping edm hits.
What lies in the patriarchy-upheaving circle of women empowerment? Her strive to fight against the media’s perception of what it means to age because if you’re not expressing yourself in the most authentic way you can be, you won’t’ know what it’ll feel like for a girl. On her 61st birthday, we’re commemorating Queen Madge’s top 10 looks that have influenced a generation of pop singers and probably yourselves too.
1. The ‘83 Aerobics Diva
When Madonna burst into the scene in the ‘80s, she didn’t go down the Debbie Harry-punk rock route or the two-piece womanly tweed suiting that marked the era: she wore athleisure before it was even a thing. The gaudy bright eye-makeup, chunky jewellery and dayglow leggings marked how a generation of liberated women aspired to dress despite what was “conventional” for that era.
2. The ’85 Glamour Girl
When that era’s female empowerment tunes involved punk rockers screaming into their microphones to stand up against the male gaze, Madonna decided to turn the tables by singing about how certain women date men who promised them extravagant things like cold hard cash. And who else would be better to emulate than Marilyn Monroe who was known for her slue of wealthy pursuers.
3. The ’87 Birth Of A Look
On her ’87 tour titled Who’s That Girl, Madonna literally had her fans think that thought: her hair was cropped and bleached and she started her long time love for body-hugging leotards, fishnet tights and chunky sex shop-esque boots. Her signature makeup hasn’t changed over the years though – it’s perpetually a sexy smokey eye and blood rep lips.
4. The ’90 Look Of The Era
In the ‘90s where consumer choices shifted towards the minimalist that designers such as Calvin Klein and Helmut Lang are known for, Madonna obviously chose to do the opposite: Wearing a belted corset with a conical bra designed by French designer John Paul Gaultier for her Blond Ambition World Tour. The look, with its slick ponytail and Madonna’s classic makeup choice, has gone on to achieve cult status, becoming one of her most memorable and iconic looks.
5. The ’91 Glamour Girl Part Two
Another rejection of the severe lines and stark colours of the ‘90s, Madonna decided to do a part two of her Marilyn Monroe tribute at the 1991 Oscars after-party: ‘50s sex bomb curls, statement diamond jewellery that weren’t just crystals and an opulent fur stole. This was one of her last tributes to the film siren but you know what they say, it’s good to go out with a bang than a whimper.