Thursday, 12 July 2012


Madonna at the American Music Awards in 1985
Looking around the shops at the moment, you can't help but notice several 80's inspired micro-trends, from neon colour-blocking to high top trainers, but most notably cross imagery. Crosses have been everywhere you look on the British high street these past few months with the symbol adorning bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings and t-shirts in every imaginable shape, size, colour and even angle (upside-down crosses being a curious take on the trend). Bringing a grunge/gothic vibe to the spring summer collections, this key theme has been a micro-trend that I have completely fallen sucker to. However, wearing my silver cross pendant the other day provoked an interesting discussion with a friend of mine who said that she was discouraged from wearing crucifix imagery by her own anticipation of the offense it could cause to Christians who consider the fashionising of their sacred symbol as blasphemy when worn by non-religious persons. Rather ignorantly of me, this wasn’t a consideration that I had taken into account at all. But it’s a debate that harks back to the 80’s when the former Catholic singer Madonna hung huge crosses from her ears and crucifixes round her neck, causing outrage from religious sectors who understood the wearing of rosary beads as a jewellery statement to be a sacrilegious act. As an atheist and fashion-lover, it’s impossible for me to take an unbiased view on the argument but it is undeniable that once Madonna had made crosses a part of her signature look, it was to inevitably snowball into a hugely popular fashion which would not be curtailed by the outcries of religious leaders. The fact that the trend still survives today is simply a reflection of the extent of Madonna’s absolute icon status. As the singer is set to celebrate her 54th birthday next month, I urge we look back to those heydays at Madge as the ultimate 80’s style queen. Looking at the current trends today, I can’t help but see the original Material Girl everywhere – not just in the crosses, but in the return of corset-silhouettes (everyone has seen those famous images of Madonna in her cone-shaped bustiers), mid-riff bearing crop tops, headbands, colourful bomber jackets, and black mesh detailing. Madge’s style has always relied upon shock-tactics to take the world by storm and her success is signalled in the very fact that these once outrageous looks have become socially acceptable today. It is for this reason that I believe fashion owes endless credit to her and those controversial looks which still continue to provide designers and artists with creative inspiration.

Skull and Cross Earrings, Topshop, £8.50
Mesh Body, Motel, Was £32 Now £15
Lace and stud corset bralet, ASOS, Was £40 now £12
Studded Crop Top, Topshop, £18
Scarf print bomber jacket, River Island, Was 40 Now £20
Cross body chain, Topshop, £20

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