Madonna: The Vanity Fair Icon Issue

Madonna’s savvy ability to understand the business of commercial appeal and music trends has allowed her to evolve her image and sound to keep her at the forefront of popular culture, sustaining one of the longest running careers in music history. Always conscious of her influence, Madonna’s legacy includes proactively advocating for inclusion and diversity. She pushed the boundaries and challenged societal norms by merging political sexual discourse and imagery with religious motifs. The legacy of Madonna is a perfect blend of innovation and controversy.

For their first Icon Issue, the French, Italian, and Spanish editors of Vanity Fair selected Madonna to simultaneously appear on the cover of all three European editions in 2023. The Icon project celebrates legends who have significantly shaped modern culture. Madonna recently announced her Celebration Tour, which will take audiences on a journey of a four decades long career.

Photographed by Luigi and Iango, and styled by B. Åkerlund, this project showcased the work of designers John Galliano for Maison Margiela, Gucci, Jean Paul Gaultier, and more.[1] The cover merges religious, feminist, and sexual themes, representing Madonna's artistic persona. Akerlund dressed Madonna in an extravagant Dolce & Gabbana headpiece layered over a 1910 white lace wedding veil. The concept featured Madonna as the Virgin Mary, an ode to "Like a Virgin," released thirty years earlier.