How the Material Girl daringly made her way to the top
1 THE MIDWEST GIRL
At 25, Madonna was on her way to becoming a star in New York—where she found it a little be easier to be daring than in her hometown of Rochester, Michigan. For the November cover story, the singer wrote in BAZAAR, “if you are a pop star, eccentric behavior is expected from you…I was also wearing as many crucifixes around my neck as I could carry, and telling people in interviews that I did it because I thought Jesus was sexy. Well, he was sexy to me, but I also said it to be provocative.”
2 THE VIRGIN TOUR
By the following year Madonna embarked on her debut tour—The Virgin Tour. People believed her song, “Like a Virgin” was an attempt to promote pre-marital sex. Her virginal all-white stage costume became one of her trademark looks.
3 BLOND AMBITION
In 1990, Madonna embarked on the highly controversial Blond Ambition Tour. The songstress continued to be a sexual provocateur, and shocked audiences by mixing Catholicism and sexuality in her songs and performances. Jean Paul Gaultier designed her costumes of cone bras and corsets, which became iconic.
4 IN BED
Madonna attended the Cannes Film Festival for the first time in 1991 to screen her film, In Bed With Madonna. The pop singer dressed the part in a pink silk robe, which she dropped at the end of the screening to reveal another Jean Paul Gaultier-designed cone bra and matching briefs.
5 LES ENFANTS TERRIBLES
In 1993, Madonna daringly walked in Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring runway show in an ultra-revealing dress.
6 RAY OF LIGHT
Following the birth of her first child, Lourdes, Madonna traded her crucifixes for a red string bracelet, when she began studying the religion of Kabbalah. She wrote in Bazaar, “I was accused of joining a cult. I was accused of being brainwashed. Of giving away all my money. I was accused of all sorts of crazy things…I was actually trying to become a better person.” Her new-found spirituality influenced her seventh album, Ray of Light—as well her Eastern-inspired wardrobe.
7 THE KISS
At the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna shared the stage and a kiss heard-around-the-world with both Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera to perform her hit at the time, “Hollywood”.
8 THE CONFESSIONS TOUR
Even in her 40s—Madonna continued to stir the pot with her use of religious imagery. In 2006 when she took her Confessions Tour to Rome, the Vatican released a statement denouncing her and her “blasphemous” portrayal of Jesus on the cross.
9 THE FILM CREATOR
Madonna adds writer to her resume in 2010, for the film W.E. which she directed and co-wrote. She hit the international film festival circuit in an array of bold gowns from Marchesa, Jean Paul Gaultier and Dolce & Gabbana. In her BAZAAR cover story she wrote that making films is “the most challenging and rewarding thing” she has done. One can only presume, “so far…”
10 THE MADONNA REVOLUTION
In September 2013, Madonna released her “secretprojectrevolution” at the Gagosian—a 17-minute film she starred in, directed by friend and fashion photographer Steven Klein. The film features Madonna getting thrown in jail for being lewd—she then calls for a revolution and for people to fight for their freedom of expression.