Fashion / Style

The iconic, eclectic style of Queen of Pop, Madonna

madonna style

Madonna Ciccone. The original New York Italian Queen of Pop. A material girl for the ages, there’s a place in all our hearts for the eclectic, bold style of Madonna; ranging from Jean Paul Gaultier cone bras to her penchant for catholic iconography that juxtaposed oh so nicely with her sultry MO. 

Proto-Taylor Swift Era’s Tour, Madonna was the originator of the concept of a pop star’s ‘eras’. Understanding how crucial image was to one’s success, Madonna reinvented hers methodically with each album cycle. 1984’s ‘Like a Virgin’ saw the then-up-and-coming singer (her first hit single ‘Holiday’ was released the year prior) transform into a (not-so-virginal) bride. Performing at the first-ever MTV VMAS wearing a provocative wedding dress, stilettos, and a bustier, Madonna, who appeared atop a 17-foot wedding cake, lost a stiletto early into the song. In an attempt to retrieve it from the floor without distracting from her performance, the then-26-year-old lay down on the stage and began writhing around as she sang, exposing her underwear to a silent, shocked audience. The moment prompted her manager at the time to tell her she had just ruined her career, but the next day, the ‘Like a Virgin’ album and its namesake single hit number one on the Billboard charts. In response, girls in mass around the country began emulating Madonna’s style, wearing their hair messily tied up with a bow, tulle skirts, ripped clothes and crucifixes around their neck. The Madonna Effect had begun. 

The decades following saw Madonna use fashion as a vehicle, meticulously planning both her on-stage costumes, her red carpet looks and her music videos, moving from bonafide bombshell – she channelled Marilyn Monroe for Material Girl – to a penitent sinner for Like a Prayer, Blond Ambition’s cabaret chic, Erotica’s dominatrix, a camp cowboy for 2000’s Music, or her disco-ready high-cut neon leotards for 2005’s Confessions on a Dance Floor. 

She cultivated life-long friendships and creative collaborations with designers she admired, including Jean Paul Gaultier, whose corset top she first wore in 1985, before the cone bra, which she wore for her Blonde Ambition tour in 1990 became one of her most iconic looks to date. In a nod to their long history together, the original pop star, who turned 65 earlier this year, began her Celebration Tour earlier this month, during which she wears a custom Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture piece in the form of a black, sparkling cone-shaped corset.

Beyond her style, Madonna is a hit-maker like no other, a cross-generational artist adored at all ages. Her longevity and notoriety place her in an upper echelon of music that only few ever make it to – a bonafide pop star, forever adored, her methology meticulously studied, and her impact never far from conversation. 

As the Queen of Pop returns to the stage for her 12th concert tour, from the 1980s through to today, we look back at a selection of the most iconic style moments of Madonna.




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by (@80sstylebaby)

At the inaugural MTV VMAs, 1984.


Wearing her wedding dress for her marriage to Sean Penn, 1985.


The Virgin tour, 1985.




Material Girls music video, 1985.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by . (





Performing the Who's That Girl tour, 1987.






Wearing the iconic Jean Paul Gaultier bustier, 1990.


Blond Ambition tour, 1990.


In the film Dick Tracy, 1990.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @silksneaker

Channelling Marilyn Monroe at the Oscars, 1991.


Wearing Jean Paul Gaultier to the Cannes Film Festival, 1991.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 90s fashion (

With Michael Jackson at the Oscars, 1991.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by THE FREQUENT (@the__frequent)

Wearing Jean Paul Gaultier at Cannes Film Festival, 1991.



View this post on Instagram


A post shared by 90s Fashion World (@90sfashionworld)




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tom Ford For Gucci (@tomfordforgucci)




View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Tom Ford For Gucci (@tomfordforgucci)



We're opening up our filing cabinet to you, and extracting our favourite style files for you to peruse. From the leaders in 90s fashion, to Gia Carangi, to Devon Aoki to Diane Keaton, there's an archive for everyone, whether your thing is Y2K or impeccable tailoring. There's even one for Sofia Coppola and iconic musicians like Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, Fiona Apple, Tupac, PJ Harvey – even Mick Jagger.

Otherwise, if you've only got eyes for Hollywood heartthrobs, may we suggest the wardrobes of Cameron Diaz and Julia Roberts? When we said there's something for everyone, we meant it. So tuck in.

Stay inspired, follow us.

Image: Instagram