9 Iconic Madonna Looks That Prove She Basically Invented "Fashion" — PHOTOS
When it comes to pop star style, making sure you cultivate a brand that is both unique and aspirational is key to cinching that sartorial superstar spot. For some celebs, stylists are a must; for others, their aesthetic feels so entirely their own that it must be. Take Madonna's iconic style, for example: The woman who's reinvented herself more times than I've had hot dinners, but that with each and every look has still remained true to herself and true to her style. No matter what she's wearing, that quintessentially-Madonna vibe is always there.
So out of all the memorable looks rocked over the past three decades, how is a Madge fan meant to pick the best of the best? Well, I personally couldn't, so I went for the most iconic ones instead. These looks, alongside her music, will undoubtedly live forever as part of Madonna's legacy, and serve as proof for why this pop star has lasted so long in a game arguably made for fresh faces.
Of course, these choices are pretty subjective and I'm sure there are plenty more looks that others would dub infamous or iconic. Let's face it: When has Madonna done anything that wasn't still being discussed years later? All that said, here are a few iconic looks that will prove my point.
1. The Cone Bra
Twenty-six years later and the first look that springs to mind when you mention Madonna is probably still the Jean Paul Gaultier cone bra that she wore for her Blond Ambition tour in 1990. In fact, this is probably one of the most iconic celebrity looks ever, if you had to call me on it.
The Gaultier creation was so loved, in fact, that the fashion designer remodeled the style onto a T-shirt collaboration with Beth Ditto at the end of 2015.
Plus Size Dress Corset T-Shirt, $89, bethditto.com
2. The "Vogue" Video
From the perfect '20s finger-waves paired with an outstanding suit, Madonna killed it in 1990 and this video was no exception. Although there's definitely more than one amazing outfit in this video, the mix-up of masculine and feminine was true perfection in my eyes. Contrasting beautifully with the men wearing suits throughout the video and in this particular dance routine, Madonna stood out as a beacon of girl power.
3. That White Lace
If there's a fabric I automatically associate with Madge, it's white lace. The singer has never shied away from the material, and pretty much claimed it as her own — from the outstanding "Like A Virgin" video to this look from the 1987 — and first ever — MTV Video Music Awards.
This all-white ensemble represents a Madonna I cherish dearly: A Madonna who combined sexy with virginal in a way that nobody had done before and nobody has done since. And don't even get me started on how great that belt is.
4. The "Material Girl" Video
This pink dress — and pretty much the entire music video and, when you think about it, probably the entire song — is a shout-out to Marilyn Monroe's performance of "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend" in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
In fact, Madonna paid homage to the similarly-beautiful blonde actor Marilyn Monroe several times throughout her career — perhaps because of their similar aesthetics, or perhaps as a commentary on the lasting effect that truly iconic fame can have. Plus, we all know by now how much Madonna loves a glove.
5. The Marie Antoinette Performance
Another strong woman from history who Madonna took on board for inspiration was Marie Antoinette. This look premiered in an exclusive performance of "Vogue" at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards and absolutely killed it as a highly-theatrical take on her song about club kid dance moves — a collective of people who were probably part of the most theatrical fashion movement ever. This was a smart homage to the NYC club culture indeed.
6. More Marilyn Monroe Vibes
What's a girl's best accessory? Michael Jackson, of course. But aside from that, $20 million worth of diamonds will do. This outfit was so Hollywood glamour it hurt, and who else would Madge get her Hollywood glamour inspiration from but Marilyn Monroe? In this 1991 outfit for the Academy Awards, Madonna proved that she could do classically beautiful just as well as her usual edgy style.
7. The Evita Premiere
Now this is a certified Look, served up by Madonna in 1996 for the premiere of Evita — an acting performance that won the pop star a Golden Globe award. What makes this look stand out is that it was made to stand out, so of course it always needed an iconic star to rock it. And where else to wear an all-red, embellished outfit than on the red carpet for your award-winning film performance?
8. The Britney Kiss
Although this look is basically just arm warmers — which could never be pulled off by anyone else, IMO — and a black tank top, the simplicity of the outfit in combination with the basic low ponytail led to a strong silhouette for the star and a great contrast between Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera's white lace ensembles.
This has arguably been one of Madonna's most iconic moments throughout her career and frankly, one of the most iconic celebrity moments ever. It's also one more reason to absolutely adore the MTV Video Music Awards.
9. The Met Gala Look
No, I'm not talking about the basically-naked Met Gala 2016 Madonna look, but her punk-inspired ensemble for 2013's Met Gala. I adore this outfit for two main reasons: Firstly, Madonna did not give a single fuck about anyone's ageist notions regarding clothing. Secondly, how good did Madonna look with dark hair? A bold black bob is a staple in iconic fashion in general, TBH, but again, Madonna made it all her own.
If it's not obvious by now that I believe Madonna has one of the greatest style legacies ever, then I have failed at my job as a fashion and beauty writer and as a Madonna enthusiast. The queen of pop may not always hit the mark for me — the "4 Minutes" video anyone? — but that's only because she's staying true to her own sense of dress. Whether you love or hate Madge, you have to admit this babe has style.
Images: Courtesy Brands; Madonna/YouTube; 20th Century FOX