Four Decades of Madonna's Most Iconic Looks Ever

Four Decades of Madonna's Most Iconic Looks Ever

by Ava Lahijani

To be coined the Queen of anything, there’s a standard to be met, which the "Queen of Pop," has demonstrated over and over again not only with her trailblazing music but her outfits that people still remember four decades later. Indeed, Madonna has proven time and time again she has every right to the name, so it is only fair to remind the people why the Queen should be known as fashion royalty as well. Below, the very best looks Madonna has ever worn.

Madonna at the 1984 MTV Music Awards

For her first ever MTV Video Music Awards, Madonna played the part performing her infamous single “Like a Virgin” in the exact dress a virgin in the day would wear: a sultry Boy Toy lingerie wedding dress. Pushing all standards of the time aside, she showcased her pearls, lace and tulle atop a 17-foot wedding cake on the VMA stage. The song went on to stay atop the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks and the dress to Hard Rock Cafe’s 40th Anniversary Memorabilia Tour in Times Square.

Madonna at the 1985 American Music Awards

The fashion idol dabbled in a slight '80s look with a side ponytail held by a scrunchie, fishnet gloves and a semi-cone-shaped Jean Paul Gaultier corset. Highlighting her religious journey, she wore both Christian and Jewish jewelry (crosses and a Star of David), because the drip is too good to subject yourself to one category.

Madonna at the 1987 'Who’s That Girl' Premiere

The queen arrived at her very own movie premiere for Who’s That Girl in a silver-lined glass bugle beaded dress. Sewn together in a diamond pattern, the look was accented with a red lip and matching nails in a very Marilyn Monroe-esque manner. Simple yet elegant, she took on a change of shorter hair for the time letting the dress do all the talking.

Madonna at her 1990 'Blonde Ambition' Tour

During her Blonde Ambition Tour, Madonna debuted her soon-to-be iconic conical corset. The corset, designed by a long-time collaborator of hers, Jean Paul Gaultier, was layered with black tights and a silk belt highlighting her ever-so-sought-after figure on stage.

Madonna at the 1991 Academy Awards

On route to the 63rd Annual Academy Awards afterparty, Madonna repeated a look from one of her many Vanity Fair covers. The iced-out Bob Mackie gown was appropriately paired with $20 million worth of Harry Winston diamonds and a fur shawl. Hand in hand, the King and Queen of Pop made all necks break with their unexpected appearance as a duo.

Madonna at Her 1992 ‘Sex’ Book Release

It was only fitting for the sex god to show up to her erotic book launch of the coffee table staple Sex in sultry milkmaid-core. With her hair in buns, stockings high, and lamb plushie in hand, Madonna showed the world not only can she rock it on stage, but also in bed. A pensive author one might say.

Madonna at the 1992 'With Honors' Premiere

For the premiere of With Honors, a film that included Madonna’s song “I’ll Remember," she sported a low-waisted maxi skirt and cerulean top showing off her abs crafted by the gods themselves. Pictured with the director Alek Keshishian, the premiere was held in Los Angeles showcasing a film that depicted Madonna in a more gender-fluid manner, which gained much praise.

Madonna at the 1995 MTV Awards

The pop star showed up at the 1995 MTV Awards in a Tom Ford-era silk Gucci ensemble slightly unbuttoned to highlight her sheer bra underneath. In her businesswoman attire, she won Best Female Video for “Take A Bow” and started a Halloween costume that has been recreated year after year by the likes of Real Housewife Leah McSweeney and Vogue’s Liana Satenstein.

Madonna at the 1998 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards

Pulling off a classy-yet-grunge look is no easy task. But for Madonna? It’s just another day. At the 1998 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards she donned jet black hair and a corseted yellow gown designed by Oliver Theyskens in which she won the Gianni Versace Tribute Award and Most Fashionable Artist, as she should.

Madonna at the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime Show

Taking on her royal landing at the 2012 Super Bowl Halftime show, the mogul was surrounded by her own crew of soldiers in Givenchy Haute Couture. She gave gladiator glory in black and gold while receiving her horned crown on the field. And of course, there was a cheetah-printed gold throne for her highness because football can be boring, duh.

Madonna at the 2016 Met Gala

In an all-black sheer look, Madonna proved to everyone at the 2016 Met Gala that she can still bring the heat to any carpet. Dripping in black lace and silver jewelry, she struck a pose in a Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci looks that was strappy, cheeky, and oh so sexy.

Photos via Getty