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The Madonna cure
When you think of the culture and style of the 80s, who comes to your mind?
Well for me it’s Pop Queen Madonna.
It’s no surprise that when Madonna first appeared she caught everyone’s attention with her provocative outfits and equally shocking performances.
The pop queen always reinvented her look, and her iconic presence was enough to influence fans all over the world. No portrait of the 80s is complete without an image of millions of teenage girls shouting with wild hairstyles, bustiers and crucifixes hanging from their necks.
Yes, Madonna has had a great influence on fashion since the 1980s.
But why was her influence so great compared to other iconic figures?
Well, just like a chameleon, Madonna had the ability to transform her look as she pleased: from androgynous to punk, western, hip-hop; this redefined the concept of femininity and sexuality.
When I speak of the ‘Madonna cure’, what I mean is that in some way Madonna’s provocative attitude towards clothing and performance has been healthy for women and fashion.
Think about it, women’s fashion used to be very conservative and suddenly changed after WWI when mini skirts came out.
Fashion kept evolving since then and kept fluctuating from long pencil skirts to mini skirts, until the 80s finally marked the provocative fashion era.
Since then women are allowed to embrace their femininity in a way that was never seen before. If you compare fashion advertisements from the 50s with advertisements from the 80s and 90s you will be able to notice a great change.
And do not think women have not tried to rebel before. Look at the Suffragettes at the beginning of the 20th Century, a group of amazing women who wanted to be considered more than just housewives decided that the only way they could do so was with provocative actions (riding bicycles, protesting – Yep, that was considered outrageous at the time).
What I am saying is that thanks to the media and iconic figures like Madonna a new notion of sexuality has appeared.
Women have always been depicted as objects of sexual desire since the Renaissance, in which many painters created artworks portraying naked women. Today however, this notion of femininity and sexuality has drastically changed and women tend to ‘self-objectify’ and feel empowered by doing so.
I mean, just look at Victoria Secret’s Models. It is OK nowadays to have your naked body advertised on a billboard somewhere in NYC, and it is OK to post bikini pictures on Instagram. This change has made it easy for us women to also talk about topics that were considered taboo not many years ago, sex.
Sadly, many people still believe that those looks are indecent, rather than avant-garde or just women expressing themselves. But as the founding editor of Fashionista would put it: fashion isn't about being provocative or angelic, rather it's about ‘exploring the millions of options that lie between those two borders’. So girls, go on and be adventurous, explore! And do not feel bad about getting your ankles, stomach or boobs out. I mean you don’t fight revolutions with gloves on.
Désirée de Vi’