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.
6. The ’05 Hang Up
When you’ve reinvented yourself countless of times over two decades like what Madonna has done, you’ll probably choose to do a shocker like what she did with her outfit in her 2005’s hit single Hung Up. The fishnet tights, leotard and boots make a comeback but she chose to mix things up with a statement coloured biker jacket, oversized sunglasses and tightly tonged hair. If you’re going to make confessions on a dance floor, you should be wearing this look.
7. The ’12 Voguette
Happy 7th anniversary to one of the greatest tours of all time by any artist! The MDNA World Tour kicked off in Tel Aviv May 31 2012! To honour the 7 years here’s a video from the Celebration Tech rehearsal! What an amazing show. What was your favourite performance? @madonna #madonna #queenofpop #MDNA #MDNATour #GoldenTriangle #worldtour #performance #celebration #music #2012 #anniversary #dance #7 #dancers #rehearsal #livenation #vogue
If you ask anybody what Madonna song they know, they’ll probably say Vogue and it’s not hard to see why they chose the ‘90s house thumping tune. Madonna has performed the song countless of times in various different outfits: Brit-Aristocratic opulent, her signature leotards + fishnet tights and athleisure wear but for her 2012 MDNA tour, she chose the classic white shirt and pinstripes trouser combo. The cherry on top of the icing? A reboot of the iconic Jean Paul Gaultier conical bra.
8. The ’12 Superbowl Queen
February 5, 2012 Madonna performed the Super Bowl XLVI halftime show at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis as part of Super Bowl XLVI. The performance featured Madonna with special guests LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green. The performance broke a record as the most-watched Super Bowl halftime show in history, garnering 114 million viewers. Madonna performed Vogue, Music, Give Me All Your Luvin’, Open Your Heart/Express Yourself and Like A Prayer. @madonna #madonna #queen #thequeenofpop #halftimeshow #madonnasuperbowl #superbowl #2012
The Superbowl halftime show has attracted some of the most iconic singers of our generation, such as Prince, U2, Shania Twain and Toni Braxton, but we can guarantee you that none of them had a more extravagant entrance like Madonna. Pulled on a chariot by men dressed like gladiators à la Cleopatra, her choice of a Greco-Roman outfit was by none other than Givenchy by Ricardo Tisci who obviously understands the artist’s penchant for showmanship and standing out.
9. The ’13 Met Gala Punk
The Met Gala retrospectives have spanned some of the most difficult themes to adhere to for guests, which is why they’re not short of celebrities who just end up wearing evening gowns and pretty-pie makeup. But if you’re the queen of serving looks, you’d enlist Ricardo Tisci during his Givenchy era to dress you. The DIY-looking embellished plaid jacket, the fishnet body suit, aggressive jewellery and neon pumps prove that Madonna always hits the best dressed (and most theme appropriate) list.
10. The ’18 Met Gala
The 2018’s Met Gala theme was Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination which was of course, a theme missed by the bulk of the celebrities based on the photos we’ve seen. If you’ve caught Anna Wintour’s interviews on the event, you might have picked up that they nearly lost Madonna as a performer but thank goodness they didn’t — if not, we might not have seen the queen of pop in her Jean Paul Gaultier custom made opulence.
ALSO READ: MADONNA WEARS GIVENCHY FOR SUPER BOWL SHOW