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Shane Cullen reflects on Madonna’s longevity in pop and fashion.

The Queen of Pop, a Material Girl or the Good Girl Gone Wild: everyone knows who Madonna is. The music icon recently celebrated her milestone 60th birthday and made sure everyone knew about it, posting a daily countdown for fans to celebrate with her across social media. From her inception, Madonna has strutted on to the pop music scene, armed with her own vision, sound and style. The music icon has her eyes firmly on success in both music and fashion.  

Debuting on the pop scene in the early 1980s, Madonna became one of the biggest influencers of fashion for that decade. The release of her 1984 album, Like A Virgin, cemented Madonna’s status as a serious artist globally, as well as showcasing her bold sense of style. Bleached hair, a wedding dress and crucifixes were just some of the wardrobe choices Madonna opted for in this era, pulling off each look with sheer confidence.

“From her inception, Madonna has strutted on to the pop music scene armed with her own vision, sound and style”

Over the years, Madonna has never shied away from controversy or taking risks. From wearing a satin slip in front of a burning cross for her Like A Prayer video or a power suit and monocle combo for the Express Yourself video, she never failed to draw attention. One of the many standout moments was at the 1991 Academy Awards, where Madonna stole the show wearing a Marilyn Monroe inspired sequin gown and diamond necklace, accompanied by none other than Michael Jackson as her date for the evening.

“The reinvention of herself each era is what Madonna does best.”

Away from the stage and music videos, Madonna has a passion for fashion. Earlier this year at the Annual Met Gala, she nailed the “Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme wearing a black Jean Paul Gautier gown, completed with a mesh veil and black roses in hand. Madonna and Gautier share a special friendship spanning over 20 years, with some of her iconic fashion moments being credited to the French designer. Whether it’s breaking records or rules, Madonna looks set to continue doing both.

The reinvention of herself each era is what Madonna does best. With a new album also came a new sound and look, something which pushed her ahead of her peers. In 2005, Madonna kept that momentum going with the release of her Confessions On A Dancefloor album. With hot pink leotards, tinted sunglasses and custom Jean-Paul Gautier boots, Madonna brought disco fever back. It was a successful era for her, fighting off chart competition from the likes of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.