Madonna wannabe, also Madonnabe, was a trend in the 1980s of women (as well as men) dressing like pop star Madonna. The term was popularized by writer John Skow in a May 1985 Time cover story on the singer.
The Madonna wannabe trend was at its peak from 1984 until 1986. During that time, it was common to see young women across the world dressed in the style affected by Madonna in that era: a thrift shop look that incorporated many beads, lace tops, bleached hair, rosaries, crucifixes, skirts, bracelets and bustiers. Sometimes the wannabes wore men's boxer shorts outside their clothes. Skow commented on the phenomenon:
"The bright side of this phenomenon is that these Wanna Be's (as in "We wanna be like Madonna!") could be out somewhere stealing hubcaps. Instead, all of them, hundreds of thousands of young blossoms whose actual ages run from a low of about eight to a high of perhaps 25, are saving up their baby-sitting money to buy cross-shaped earrings and fluorescent rubber bracelets like Madonna's, white lace tights that they will cut off at the ankles and black tube skirts that, out of view of their parents, they will roll down several turns at the waist to expose their middles and the waistbands of the pantyhose."
In 1985, Macy's department store opened "Madonnaland", a boutique selling clothes modelled after the singer's style. The Madonna wannabe trend largely disappeared by 1986 when Madonna dramatically altered her look with the release of her third album, True Blue. However, some fans of the entertainer still dress in the mid-1980s Madonna style, though usually this is only for Eighties nostalgia days and parties.
Following the disappearance of the trend, critics and journalists referred to female pop stars who emulated Madonna as Madonna wannabes, such as Stacey Q, Regina Richards, Sheena Easton, Gloria Estefan, Yuri, Laura Branigan, Deborah Gibson, Tiffany, Samantha Fox, Cathy Dennis, Kim Wilde, Spice Girls, Whigfield, Martika, and Paula Abdul. Since the early 2000s, the term has been revived to again describe female pop performers with styles or musical content that have been noted to be similar in style to Madonna's, for example, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears,Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Shakira, Paulina Rubio, Thalia, Katy Perry, Kesha, Rihanna, Demi Lovato, Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Yuri, etc., resulting in criticism or praise.
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Famous quotes containing the word madonna:
“In our minds lives the madonna imagethe all-embracing, all- giving tranquil mother of a Raphael painting, one child at her breast, another at her feet; a woman fulfilled, one who asks nothing more than to nurture and nourish. This creature of fantasy, this myth, is the modelthe unattainable ideal against which women measure, not only their performance, but their feelings about being mothers.”
—Lillian Breslow Rubin (20th century)