Happy Birthday, Madonna: The Style Evolution of the Material Girl
In honour of her 59th birthday (August 16), we look back at some of the fashion highlights from the Material Girl.
Before the influential style of Lady Gaga, there was the queen of ever-evolving wardrobe changes: Madonna. No one else better understood the power of constantly reinventing oneself better than the Material Girl.
The mega-star entertainer—who celebrates her 59th birthday this month—continues to captivate, enthrall, entertain and fascinate us—and not just with her music, but also her savvy fashion sense.
When she broke onto the scene in the early ’80s, her style consisted of thrift-shop finds—a pile-it-all-on mentality that included ample amounts of lace, from bustiers to cropped leggings. Her arms were =often stacked with black rubber bracelets and she wore several crucifixes, with her hair voluminously teased and crimped. And there was always that dangerous-looking dark mole above her lip. It was a look quickly adopted by teenage girls everywhere.
But the bigger impact she had went beyond the teen market: She single-handedly took lingerie out of the boudoir. It became daring, sexy and acceptable to wear a lace bustier or show off your lace bra under a sheer top while out on a night on the town.
As her career accelerated and she became a global phenom, gone was the grit and thrift-shop fashions, and she embraced designer wares. But there were always dollops of sexiness. One of her earliest reinventions was when she turned herself into a platinum blond bombshell à la Marilyn Monroe.
Madonna became a one-woman fashion force, not just sparking trends but also introducing inner-circle designers to a wider audience, like avant garde French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier who did several costumes—including the infamous cone bra—for her 1990 Blond Ambition tour.
3. Channeling Marilyn Monroe, Madonna accompanies Michael Jackson to an Oscar party after the Academy Awards in 1991.
7. Evoking an classic English beauty, Madonna wears a floral dress to the lauch of her children’s book in 2003 in Kensington.
11. The Material Girl stopped by the 2016 MET Ball in a Givenchy dress that set tongues wagging.