Smells Like Teen Spirit – Identity

Jean Paul Gaultier designed a garment for Madonna’s 1991 blonde ambition tour. In constellation we looked at the outfit she wore for the song ‘express yourself’. The navy pin striped suit is stereotypically worn by a business man which connotes power. The slits in the suit by the breast area is provocative, by doing this to the suit it suggests how she is a strong female. Gaultier would have research into the history and tradition makings of a male navy suit to see how he wanted to challenge the stereotype.

Madonna is wearing a pink silk corset underneath her suit jacket but over the top of her suit trousers. By wearing it like this as well as having the slits in the suit jacket it is not suggesting that she is a hiding her femininity but wearing a suit, it is embracing female dominance, this is challenging gender stereotypes. The pink satin material connotes the femininity of Madonna. The belt on the corset and the bra enhances the female figure. The corset comes from the Victorian time where the women would wear cosets underneath their dresses to make their breasts larger, and waists smaller. They did this in order to attract and please the Victorian dominant male figure. Gaultier would have looked into the traditional corset design and modernised it to create this striking piece. The way that the Victorians used to push their breasts up in the corset to create cleavage would come across as ‘inviting’. Gaultier has challenged this by creating a cone shape for the bra, this creates a contrasting look that the Victorians traditionally used. The spiked breast look uninviting and suggests aggression and female dominance ‘stay away’.

Gaultier would have researched into his client to see what outfit would best represent her and the blonde ambition tour. Madonna is famously known as being a strong female figure and I think Jean Paul Gaultier has captured this well in the garment worn.




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