Freedom in Fashion: Why Madonna is a Fashion Icon

Fashion has always been an inspiring way to express freedom, change and new beginnings and we know one woman that has practically re-invented herself every decade and showed us how to be free with what we wear. Madonna has showcased iconic looks since her first album in the ’80s and has led from the front when it comes to expressive new trends and unique style. i the stylist takes a look at a handful of her most memorable looks and how they’ve influenced today’s hottest women’s magazines.


1983: The first album cover

Madonna’s first album cover shoot was typical for the ’80s. The use of chunky bracelets in a variety of materials, a boyish outfit and a mass of bright blonde curls were ’80s staples. The main elements of this look are edgy pieces in dark tones.

Elle featured Lindsay Lohan on the cover in 2009 and dressed her up just like a rock princess. With the gothic boots and Madonna’s expression, it’s a doppelganger in the making. The bling wrist wear and dark colouring are a perfect illustration of ’80s Madonna.



1984: Like a Virgin

If there was any song to represent Madonna’s freedom as an artist and a woman, it was ‘Like a Virgin’. Her lyrics could be heard in every club in London throughout the decade. Her cover shoot showcased our girl as a bride. The bridal look, however, was Madonna’s version. Dark eyes, jewellery covering any part of skin showing, lace and a lot of beads.

Vogue. December 2000. Lara Stone. Need we say more? Her extravagant white gown with edgy black embellishments and dark eyes? Nailed the bridal look, Stone. Madonna would be proud.



1985: Sportswear is the new LBD

The one trend that we can hand-on-heart say that Madonna helped to bring to the mainstream was sportswear being worthy of showing off outside of the gym. With the likes of Kim Kardashian-West and Gigi Hadid rocking a hoodie dress with knee highs or a pair of trainers with evening attire, we have fully embraced the trend that Madonna gave kudos to.

Karlie Kloss can be seen sporting Lycra gym wear in the form of a tight-fitting dress, with different coloured panels, on the front cover of Glamour UK back in May 2016. If gymwear can be worn as a dress, we’re quite happy to follow suit and be free just like Kloss…



1986: Slogan tees

1986 saw Madonna rock an all-black look. The only colour being on her slogan tee that read Italians do it better. Well 2017 has revived that trend. We all love a slogan tee now when worn with, well, basically anything!

November 2017 saw Zendaya on the cover of UK Glamour representing Freedom, Women and Power with her slogan tee. Thank you, Madonna for this little number.



1990: Meet the Metallic Madonna

Golden underwear? A structured bodice? Madonna’s metallic look has been recreated in so many cover shoots.

June 2008 saw Tatler style Poppy Delevingne in a soft gold bodice with boned cups and a belt to cinch her in – we loved it! Hats off to Madonna for providing us with fancy dress inspo for the last 30 years!



1991: Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Madonna is the spitting image of Marilyn Monroe at the after party of the 1991 Academy Awards and is definitely finding her freedom with this outfit.

This recreation of Marilyn has been an infamous shot of Madonna since this decade and high profile magazine covers such as Alice Dellal for Tatler and Sienna Miller for Vogue have used jewellery, big furs and white dress to mirror this look.



2000: The Girl next door

Check out Madonna in the ‘American Pie’ video. She is the only girl next door we want to live next to. With her bouncy care free curls and her casual outfit of a cami and jeans, she is the epitome of casual cool and we have seen this style being re-done time and time again.

The Glamour cover in June 2010 shows Sarah Jessica Parker rocking her natural bouncy curls and distressed denim and we love it!



2012: Tailoring

We haven’t seen tailoring done quite like Madonna but some of our favourite girls have been able to take style tips from our queen of pop and work it on runways, catwalks and movie sets.

Tailoring is the ultimate way to give freedom to women when they’re styling themselves; it gives them the power to dress as either a man or a woman. Tatler was all about cross-dressing in May 2014 when they put Millie Rose Loggie on the cover in head-to-toe formal wear. Pure genius and we loved it!



Post Author: Kirsty Burke

Kirsty Burke
Having been in love with both fashion and writing since I can remember, being able to write now, and for online readers, is quite literally a dream come true. I like to think that my writing reflects me as a person and shows some of my personality whilst still informing you about what’s on trend and what I’m loving each season. Fashion will constantly fuel me with ideas and inspiration for my writing so if you like what you read, you have the catwalk to thank.

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