On July 27, 1983 Madonna’s debut self-titled album was released, changing her life, and music forever. In celebration of her three-decades dominating pop culture, Maripol, the designer who helped define the queen’s ‘80s look (which created a legion of “Madonnabees” wearing cross earrings and countless rubber bracelets), spoke to Yahoo! Music about how it all began.
On meeting Madonna at the Roxy in New York City: Whatever, yes, I did create a legend. There was 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 to come onstage and dance as he was rapping, so of course I complied, 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. 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 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.
On booking Madonna for Fiorrucci’s 15th anniversary party: I had a big budget and I kept saying to my boss, ‘I want this singer.’ Everybody was like, ‘No, no, who is that, who is Madonna? We want the girl who played in Flashdance, Jennifer Beals.’ And I’m like, ‘Jennifer Beals? She is not a singer!’ Finally I won. I had a big rubber cake with 15 candles and somebody to jump out of it, and Madonna jumped out that day. The club was packed, and she got the manager of Michael Jackson [Freddy DeMann] to come, and I think he signed her right there on the spot.
On how Madonna was almost like a (goth) virgin: They had this idea with the art director which was to have the black Sabbath-type virgin. You know, like black lipstick, black this, black that. And I kept saying to her, ‘We should go for the real thing, come on!’
On Madonna’s the 1984 MTV performance: I was right there, I saw it happening. I saw what [MTV] did, and I can tell you that they tried to destroy her that day. They went under her skirt with the camera; they were trying to intimidate her. Madonna had to break through; I knew she was going to make it big, because I could see how ambitious she was, in a very genuine and sweet way. The wedding outfit did help. I knew that day that she had made it,” says Maripol. “Every journalist was rushing, running, going, ‘Oh my God, who is this girl with the white outfit rolling and crawling on the floor, with crosses in her ears and her name is Madonna? And she’s singing about being like a virgin?’ They were shocked, yes! Everybody was shocked.