STAR FETISH
The many faces of Material Girl
Riaz Naqvi
Friday, May 25, 2012

With the queen of pop’s arrival in the UAE just around the corner, we look at some of the cool stuff that represents defining moments in her reign.

With Madonna about to land in Yas Island for her first-ever concert in the Gulf, to say that fans are buzzing would be a chronic understatement. The show sold out in minutes and even the mighty Yas Arena may struggle to contain the hordes on June 3-4. Since her self-titled debut album was released in 1983, Madonna Louise Ciccone has enjoyed the number one spot in mainstream music charts with no less than eight singles. Recently crowned the ‘Top Woman in Music’ by VH1, Madonna has been able to connect to young audiences far and wide for so long thanks to an uncanny ability to reinvent herself. From the controversial but groundbreaking rebel in Like a Virgin, to a more serious and almost ethereal figure in the Ray of Light video to managing to incorporate R&B elements in 2008’s Hard Candy, it has been quite a journey for Madonna.

Dh 1.9 million

1985: Material Girl

Still considered one of the definitive 80’s anthems, Material Girl was a New Wave ballad that was the first to shed light on what Kanye West would later term ‘Gold Digger.’ A satirical look at the quintessential money-chasing Reagan-era socialite, it resulted in Madonna becoming a feminist icon, while also picking up her most enduring nickname. Ironically, she is now referred to as exactly the thing she criticised, much to her chagrin. The dress worn in the famous music video — a sizzling red number paired with a snow-white fur wrap — was a tribute to Marilyn Monroe, Nathur informs us.

Dhs 101,034

1987: Who’s That Girl?

While Madonna’s silver screen debut in 1987 romcom Who’s That Girl may have been a box office flop, the soundtrack and accompanying world tour certainly wasn’t. In fact, a staggering US $20 million was grossed, with the 29-year-old star performing in front of a collective 1.5 million people. These black elbow-length gloves speak of a sophisticated sexuality that is almost uniquely Madonna. “This tour was notable due to her Madison Square Garden show, where all proceeds were donated towards the American Foundation for AIDS research,” Nathur says.

Dhs 522,741

1998: 
Ray of Light

Having recently become a mother and embraced her spiritual side for the first time, this album marked a mystical change from the far raunchier stuff of the 80s. The most somber and serious of her work thus far, Ray of Light brought Madonna an almost universal acclaim and it marked the pop legend’s first major self-reinvention. The MTV European Music Award she received was one of the first of many awards she would receive for what she still considers her own most fulfilling work.

Dhs 221,396

1985 – 1987: 
An American icon

This American Express card was used by Madonna through the years she strengthened the bedrock of her 30-year career, with the release of number ones such as Papa Don’t Preach and everlasting karaoke favourites like La Isla Bonita all coming between 07/85 – 07/87: the card’s validity date.]]

To celebrate Her Madge’s UAE visit, BurJuman is hosting the ‘Simply Madonna’ exhibition, which features original memorabilia from the star’s life, from personal items such as cheques and diaries, to much-discussed dresses and accessories flaunted on stage. Diehard fans can even puchase their favourite stuff, with the exhibition running till June 6. Burçhan Nathur, creative director of the exhibition, shared his thoughts with wknd. on how some of these valuable items reflect the Material Girl’s various phases and rise to fame…

riaznaqvi@khaleejtimes.com

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