There’s no mistaking Madonna.
Yes, a wave of ’80s nostalgia has taken the fashion world by storm. Yes, Her Madgesty totally commanded this year’s Met Gala. And yes, her 60th birthday is coming up this August 16. Even without all this, it would still be clear that Madonna is having a major moment.
“The Queen has arrived,” pronounced the commentators when Madge made her entrance at the Met in May wearing a surprisingly modest, medieval-inspired black gown. Crowns were a major trend that night, but no one wore the look as well as the Queen of Pop herself.
That’s because Madonna is American royalty — a true icon and a household name. And entwined with her musical accomplishments is a fashion legacy that has been as controversial, boundary pushing, and magnificent as her songs.
An inspiration to basically every pop superstar who came after her, from Britney and Christina to Gaga and Miley, Madonna has never stopped reinventing herself. Each of her incarnations has been as stunning as the last. Tuxedos, leotards, kimonos — nothing is out of bounds for this megastar. She’s channeled Marilyn Monroe, Marie Antoinette, and pretty much everyone in-between — bull fighters, salsa dancers, geishas, you name it. Each time, she puts her own unique stamp on her varied influences.
White lace, visible lingerie, fingerless gloves, dangling crucifixes — these are just a few hallmarks of Madonna’s wardrobe. With the help of Jean Paul Gaultier she introduced the cone bra. Earlier in her career, she pioneered the thrown-together thrift shop look.
At different points she’s gone goth, dipped into grunge, sampled punk. She reinvented the urban aesthetic with her rosaries, Ray-Bans, and single earrings. She was among the first to dare to say no shirt, no pants, no problem! Liberating, empowering, and at times downright shocking, here’s a look at Madonna’s most enduring fashion moments. — jas