Into the pop culture stratosphere she came, a peroxide blonde bedecked in piles of bangles, crosses, rosaries, cheap lace crop tops, biker shorts and her favorite Boy Toy belt.
This story first appeared in the November 1, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In the beginning, Madonna was the poster girl for Eighties mall fashion, but not for long. Just when the impressionable masses embraced her trashy mash-up look, she was on to her next incarnation—the chastened brunette of Like A Prayer, the power babe with a platinum pixie of Express Yourself, the dominatrix of Erotica.
But no reinvention was more famous than that of her 1990 Blond Ambition Tour in all of its cone-bra glory, which forever linked Madonna to French fashion provocateur Jean Paul Gaultier. Together they shocked the world with their overt innerwear-as-outerwear statement, an iconic moment they stretched until literal overexposure: In 1992, Gaultier staged a charity fashion show for AmFAR with Madonna as his muse, “who was dressed in black with her gold tooth as her only accessory,” reported WWD. “At the end of the runway she paused to peel off a jacket, revealing one of Gaultier’s harness dresses and a lot more. It was like a coming attraction: As everybody’s been reading ad nauseam, Madonna’s boobs are about to go into wide, wide release.”