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“The New Madonna” : Vogue UK

Madonna - Vogue UK / February 1989

The New Madonna

“Come on Herb, stop that! I want you to do me as the real me,” squawks Madonna as Herb Ritts tries to pull open her blouse to reveal more of a black bra.

“The real me” is Madonna stripped of her blonde crop and red lips. Instead before us is a Madonna who has stepped out of a Renaissance painting, a Mona Lisa, with long brown hair centre-parted, dark damson lips and porcelain white skin. She dances for us, yelling throatily over the words of a Prince tape that is blasting out of the speakers so loudly that we can hardly hear ourselves think.

This is the emergence of a new woman, an image that suggests culture clashes, and juxtaposition of old and new ideas. “People have certain notions about me, and it is time for a change,” she affirms. At thirty, she’s revealing a deeper side of her personality through a new single from her album Like A Prayer, released worldwide this month. “Like a Prayer,” she explains, “is about the influence of Catholicism on my life, and the passion it provokes in me. In other songs I’ve been dealing with more specific images that mean a lot to me. They’re about an assimilation of experiences I had in my life and in relationships. They’re about my mother, my father and bonds with my family, about the pain of dying, of growing up and letting go. I’ve been exploring different kinds of music and discovering things inside me that I suppose have always been there, but I’ve never had the confidence and experience to show them until now. It’s taken a lot of guts to do this, and I’ve taken more risks with this album than I’ve ever have before, and I think that growth shows.” Acting too has played a major part in Madonna’s growing up, having finished a six-month stint in a David Memet play on Broadway. “I suppose that acting has made me question things. It’s been good for me as it humbles and challenges me to work with other people; when I make records I have total control, and express myself as I want, but in acting you have to give up a lot of independence, because there are other people involved.” There is an urgency about Madonna, as she trashes through life, that affects everyone about her. She has an unnerving will to express herself, to explore, challenge and discover, as is inherent in any talented artist. “I suppose when I ever get to the point of not having the desire to know and hunger to learn more, then I won’t continue to act or write songs.”

Madonna - Vogue UK / February 1989

Above Madonna wears a short black silk chiffon slip by Christian Lacroix Luxe from a selection , on Burns, 55 George St, W1, and her own black opaque tights, shoes and crucifix.

© Vogue