Tuesday 16 January 2018

Iconic Fashion in Film: Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan

Madonna. Photo: Getty Images
Madonna. Photo: Getty Images

Sinead Van Kampen

The already iconic Oscar nominated Black Swan costume designs (see Jim Carrey dressed as a black swan on Saturday Night Live) have inspired us at Independent Woman to ask ourselves what are the most stylish films of all time?

Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan

Had the directors not got their way then Desperately Seeking Susan would have almost certainly been a complete failure. Despite being offered to Goldie Hawn and Diane Keaton, Susan Seidelman chose Rosanna Arquette as Roberta and had to audition Madonna twice for the role of Susan, and it was the rising star of the material girl that helped propel the film to worldwide popularity.

Like most of her movies, what Madonna brought to the quality of the acting in the film has been questioned ever since. But since the plot is weak and the characters wholly unbelievable, who really cares?

Susan Seidelman understood that the her film would rise and fall on how well it would capture the spirit of the times and for this reason it became an instant classic.

Selfish, tough, fearless and almost certainly not a virgin, Madonna wrote her personal style across every scene and never before or since has the look been worn so well. Layer after layer of lace and leggings? Fingerless gloves and sloppy Ts? Blazers with Minnie Mouse ears?

By 1985 the Susan look become huge and Madonna gave a glimpse of what was to come with the appearance of the underwear as outerwear trend. Panned by critics at the time, DSS was THE teenage movie of the eighties and the complaint that the film looks dated misses the point because Desperately Seeking Susan inspired a generation.

Signature look: Punk chic and huge, messy hair.

Fashion legacy: Every single glorious episode of Sex and the City

In a phrase: "Yeah, well it's not about her, it's about me."

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