At any '80s' themed party today there will always be these types of characters: a guy dressed in the Top Gun jumpsuit, about ten people dressed in neon lycra and always at least one person adorned with pearls, fishnet tights and a scrunchie emulating the classic 'Madonna' look of the 1980s.
The 1980s unfairly have a bad reputation for fashion with people choosing to remember and emulate the unflattering permed 'Princess Diana' style hair cuts, the dodgy moustaches and garish colours, patterns and cuts which means that at these 80s themed parties, rarely anyone looks good! Madonna however ruled the 80s, 'Like A Virgin', 'Papa Don't Preach' and 'Into The Groove' were all released in the midst of the decade and paved the way for her to reach popstar status and become one of the most influential fashion icons of the decade.
Punk music and punk fashion was experiencing a resurgence in the mid 80s after its foundation in the 1970s. The 70s influences of designers such as Vivienne Westwood and Malcom McLaren continued to be felt in the 80s yet a new strand of punk fashion emerged which included Dr. Martens boots, chains, studded belts, tartan kilts and leather skirts. It was the influence of the punk movement on Madonna's fashion that helped earn her a 'cool' status in comparison to the squeaky clean popstars of the day (such as Cyndi Lauper) and earnt her a place on teenage bedrooms across the world.
The punk movement influence on Madonna's fashion first emerged in the video for Lucky Star (her debut on MTV in 1984) she combined a miniskirt with a mesh tank top, black lace gloves, stilettos and her backcombed hair with an oversized bow. The toned down punk elements of her fashion made it much more accessible to teenagers wanting to emulate the style but found it too extreme.
Madonna incorporated punk influenced styles such as the heavy make up, fishnet tights and rubber bracelets which blurred the line between pop and rebellion, one of the keys to her phenomenal success. In 1984 Madonna blurred this line further as she shocked audiences by wearing a punked up bridal ensemble with her signature 'Boy Toy' belt and writhed on stage to 'Like A Virgin'.
This iconic and easily accessible rebellious look created by Madonna was quick to catch on amongst teenagers across the world, Macy's created a 'Madonnaland' selling Madonna licensed and inspired fashion and Madonna themed boutiques cropped up across the world causing the look to become a high street staple throughout the 1980s. Even other artists, such as Banarama, adopted this 'Madonna' style and advertisers such as Benetton created Madonna influenced advertising campaigns .
Although her style is constantly changing and Madonna continues to both shock and inspire, her iconic 80s look remains her most recognisable and influential. In 2014 many of Madonna's iconic fashion items went up for sale during the 'Icons & Idols: Rock n' Roll' auction and included the jacket she wore in Desperately Seeking Susan which sold for £160,000 (outselling the gown from the Material Girl video and her wedding dress she wore at her marriage to Sean Penn) and the one earring she wore in the same film sold for £20,000, showing the importance 1980s Madonna had on the fashion world.