But Madonna didn’t come up with her early signature look entirely on her own. She had a lucky star on her side back then, a visionary stylist, who helped craft that image. And that woman also went by a singular name: Maripol.
Without Maripol - a French-expat artist, jewelry designer, photographer, film producer, and NYC girl-about-(down)town - Madonna may never have become MADONNA. After all, Maripol was the woman who introduced street-style jelly bracelets to the mainstream (fun fact: Grace Jones was the first pop singer to wear Maripol’s rubber creations, on her ankles), and she was the woman who first convinced Madonna to dance onstage in a bra.
Speaking to Yahoo Entertainment from New York, Maripol humbly, grudgingly concedes, 'Whatever, yes - I did create a legend.' Recalling the night that started it all, at New York hip-hop club the Roxy almost four decades ago, she says, 'There was a lot of mix of culture coming from England, with people like Bow Wow Wow, and then there was Fab Five Freddy, from Yo! MTV Raps, which was also the beginning of this whole movement. Fab Five Freddy asked me if I could find cute girls, and I turned around and saw Madonna and asked her if she would want to go onstage. I asked her if she had a nice bra on, and she thought I was out of my mind! I asked her to actually take her top off. And the rest is history.'
So, was that the unofficial beginning of the underwear-as-outerwear trend? 'No, that was the beginning of the fact that I’m French! I was less puritan than anyone else, and I was always taking my clothes off, unfortunately,' Maripol laughs. 'After that, Madonna actually made an appointment to come see me in my loft, because she wanted me to create her look. I had already invented the rubber bracelet, and I was the art director of Fiorucci, and I thought that she was the perfect person to carry around my style. And it was perfect for her as well.'
Maripol and Madonna’s first fashion collaboration was for the Madonna album cover, on which Maripol’s bold, punky jewelry was practically as much the star as Madonna herself.
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