The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011

OUT Magazine's Vintage Madonna

Dress you up.

Unlikely as it seems, Out has a rather substantial gallery of previously-unseen Madge pics from her pre-fame East Village days.

A year before her first album, an unknown Madonna invited Richard Corman to photograph her in and around her New York City walk-up. The pictures he took that day, published here for the first time, capture the energy and vitality of a woman destined to become a legend. Plus: See an extra 18 web-exclusive images!"

Our first reaction was "There are unpublished pictures of a young Madonna, just before fame hit? Really?" We're always a little taken aback when some outrageously famous person's heretofore unknown pictures surface. It just seems odd to us that they would stay hidden all this time.

"I looked up the staircase, and I saw this girl leaning over the edge of the banister, and even from three stories below I could see these catlike eyes just looking down. I knew at that moment that she had something special -- I really did. She had her best friend and neighbor, Martin, with her -- he later died of AIDS—and we sat and talked. She served me a cup of coffee on a silver tray with three pieces of Bazooka bubblegum. There was no pretense to it."

While some of the pictures are perfect snapshots of early '80s fashion...

... sometimes hilariously so (seriously, she looks like a Cosby kid here)...

We were struck by how classic some of these looks are and how much some of these elements have gone in and out of style for the last 30 years.

To the point that some of them could almost pass for 2011 fashion editorials.

It's interesting to contrast the real thing with Madonna's current attempt to recreate it and cash in on it, her Material Girl line with daughter Lola.

She sometimes gets erroneously credited with creating a lot of these looks when she really just appropriated them from a variety of downtown sources: the gays, black and hispanic kids, the punk and New Wave crowd, and then made them palatable and popular to the public. Still, Jackie Kennedy didn't invent the pillbox hat and Audrey Hepburn didn't create the little black dress. Fashion icons don't necessarily create their looks out of thin air, but they work some sort of special voodoo to get the rest of the world to wear their own particular combination of styles; to make people look at them and think, whether consciously or not, "I want that." These pictures made for a nice reminder of something we often forget when we look at the modern day Madonna, who isn't quite the trend setter she once was.

Also, it's astonishing how much Lola looks like her. That hot Latin trainer's sperm didn't stand a chance against Madonna's Mighty Egg, did it?

[Photo Credit: Richard Corman,]

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