As a fashion major, I always am interested in who or what influences the fashion of the times. So for postmodernism, I wanted to learn more about Madonna’s influence on fashion in the 1980’s and early 90’s (since I knew basically nothing about it).
Everyone knows that fashion in the eighties and nineties was pretty much a disaster. It provokes images of giant, too colorful, geometric earrings, and women’s oversized blazers with shoulder pads, and hairstyles way too tall for everyday life. I always think of the purple and pink, swirl-patterned, velvet pumps that my mom has had in her closet forever and can never get rid of, either because she doesn’t want to, or because no one else would ever want them. Or of DJ and Stephanie Tanner’s hair in Full House. Madonna was no exception to this crazy fashion fad, however it was a different kind of crazy. The “Madonna look” wasn’t about bold colors as much as making a bold statement. Her look was more punk, with short leather skirts, and mesh tank tops and an “exposed navel.” It was sort of the more sexualized side of eighties fashion. Madonna a lot of times had her bra showing, and she’s especially famous for her cone bra, which was designed for her tour in 1990. She also wore a lot of corsets, and made them a popular fashion item. She made it popular to wear pieces that would normally be worn as underwear as outerwear, and this helped stop the taboo of undergarments that was around before the 80’s. Madonna was also known for her accessories. During the eighties she was seen a lot of the time wearing rubber bracelets, headbands, lace gloves, and religious jewelry.
One of Madonna’s most memorable moments in fashion still to this day was her “bride” look at the 1984 VMAs. She wore a white dress and gloves, and the bodice of the dress was very much like a corset. In contrast she wore a lot of heavy necklaces with religious symbols on them. She wore with it her famous belt that said “Boy Toy,” and did a performance of her song “Like a Virgin” while wearing this ensemble, which many people were horrified at. Madonna was also a fan of a lot of makeup, which was another fashion trend in the 80s, where it was more fashionable to make it look like you were wearing a lot of makeup, instead of today where we try to make it look like we aren’t wearing any.
Madonna also had an influence on the “grunge” look, this was part of the punk image that she had created for herself. She had very crazy, untamed hair and often wore ripped clothes and jeans. Madonna’s fashion showed how the fashion of the 80’s was all about being rebellious and bold.