Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Madonna: A Music and Style Icon Through the Years

August 16 is an important day in history if you are a lover of music and pop culture in general. This is the day that Madonna Louise Ciccone (affectionately known as Madonna) was born in Bay City Michigan. In 1977, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in modern dance and got way more than she bargained for. By 1983, she released her debut album and the world of popular music was forever changed. Madonna has been known for her edgy persona but she is also well-known for being a risk-taker in her style and beauty choices. Her influence is prevalent in today’s pop princesses, but to me, she will always be the pop queen that reigns supreme. Happy birthday Madonna, you royal stunner, you!


During the days of “Lucky Star” and “Borderline”, Madonna could be seen on a typical day looking EXACTLY like this. Blue and purple lipstick has never looked so good to me…or so normal. Her hair was typically pulled into an updo and topped off with a bow. While her style was a little out there (whose style wasn't in the ‘80s?), she sparked a trend in women’s complete looks from head-to-toe.


Madonna kept it simple and sexy for the “Material Girl” video. Based on Marilyn Monroe’s iconic performance of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” from the classic film "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes," Madonna went totally blonde with emphasis placed on her eyes and lips. BTW, we can’t leave 1984 without mentioning “Like A Virgin”!


1986 found Madonna releasing her third full-length album, True Blue. “La Isla Bonita” and “Crazy For You” were in heavy rotation, and she was filming "Who’s That Girl" (which was not very well received by movie critics, though I loved and still love it). It was during this time that platinum blonde was the hair color of choice and a vicious red lip was in order. Her hair was short and a little wild, but it suits her personality perfectly.


Before Gaga was making headlines with “Judas”, Madonna was making headlines, waves and other natural disasters with “Like A Prayer” for her portrayal of Jesus Christ as a black man (among many other things that had the church calling “foul” and blasphemy). For the video, Madonna returned to her Italian roots with her brunette curly hair and natural-looking makeup. During this time, the world was also given the gift of “Express Yourself” which remains an anthem till this day.


“Vogue” – need I say more? I don’t even dare. Back to blonde, Madonna’s hair was cut into a bob, worn curly and sexy. Bold brows to frame her eyes and yet another vicious red lip completes a solid look. And I don’t dare leave this era without at very least mentioning the coned breasts that made their debut in this video.


1994 is the year that Madonna made it know that she does what she wants and is unapologetic for it. The “Human Nature” video found her hair dark again and corn-rowed. Her makeup was kept clean and simple to allow her lips to really make an impact. The same look (just softer) was used in the video for “Take A Bow”.


The "Ray of Light" album brought us a more serene Kaballah-loving Madonna and she looked the part. Her makeup was more natural in the video for the album’s title track with long, strawberry blonde locks. Conversely, the video for “Frozen” was much darker in tone and her look was a reflection; long, straight, jet black hair and pale skin.


"Confessions on a Dance Floor" was Madonna’s triumphant return after 2003’s "American Life". This album was her return to amazing dance tracks and feel-good songs from a clearly matured pop icon. She looks amazing again as a blonde with high and lowlights and clean makeup. The overall look was very ‘70s inspired with the use of glitter on her eyes and fanned-out hair.

Happy Birthday Madge - we can only imagine what's next for you - musically and aesthetically!

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