Madonna

Maripol – Madonna

 .

Maripol’s work as an art director and designer has influenced popular movements in music, fashion, and art since the early 1980s. She was the founder of Maripolitan Popular Objects Ltd., a fashion accessories company that also designed merchandising for Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” tour. Maripol has art directed films by Marcus Nispel and Abel Ferrara; and music videos for Cher, D’Angelo, Elton John, and Luther Vandross. Her clients also include Kodak, L’Oreal, Panasonic, and Peugeot. Maripol’s work has been exhibited at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, Deitch Projects, the Robert Miller Gallery, New York; Musée Maillol, Paris. Maripol has produced films including Downtown 81, which she also art directed, Just an American Boy by Amos Poe, and Face addicts by Edo Bertoglio. She has been published in The New York Times Magazine, WWD, ELLE, i-D, V Magazine, Anthem, Black Book, Nylon, Trace, InStyle, Time Out New York, and The Village Voice, Kurv among countless others. Maripol’s books include Maripolarama (powerHouse Books, 2008) New York Beat: The Making of Downtown 81 (Petit Grand, 2001) and Mes Polas: 1977–90s (Art Random,1990). Maripol lives between Paris and New York with her teenage son Lino.

 .

 Maripol discusses her work, Madonna, Danceteria, NYC, 1982, selected for publication in Who Shot Rock & Roll by Gail Buckland (Knopf, October 2009, $40).

 .

Tell me about how you came to be carrying around your Polaroid camera at parties? I ask as the Polaroid is (and was) something so special; before digital technology it was the instant photo; and even now it is so much more—it preserves the photograph as an object (and not just an image/scan). What was it about the Polaroid that had you spending crazy $$ on film in order to get these photos, and how did people react when you asked to shoot them?

 .

Maripol: I carried my camera everywhere indeed and I still have it; its the brown leather clad SX70s. I took it to Studio 54, to Mudd Club, at Fiorucci , on weekends to Montauk, in bed (ha-ha). It’s true it was kind of expensive (like a dollar, a shot) but there was no waste; I used paint, scratch, or cut up the bad results. I knew all of my subjects and the intimacy of the Polaroid did not threaten them. One time I asked David Bowie If I could snap and he said, “No, no darling,” so I respected it!

.

Downtown NYC in the early 80s is my dream era; post-punk style meeting old-school glamour—and you (in my opinion) were the catalyst for so much of the look. You are a designer, stylist, photographer, artist, model, the IT GIRL of the time. How were you able to fuse your vision with the personalities of the period?

.

Thanks, I am honored. I think I worked with my instincts getting to dig up materials for objects, and worked when a live model with an idea could have the most impact. It was sort of a sixth sense!

 .

How did you connect to Madonna? What was it about her personality that connected with your own, and what was the inspiration for her revolutionary look—the rubber bracelets, lace hair ties, lingerie and leggings, etc.?

.

Madonna came to me with Martin B. to help with her style for her first album. In a few words, I would say she was fresh, smart, sexy, active, and just perfect. I thought, “What about a girl named Madonna wearing my crosses on her ears, blasphemous enough and punk.” The rest was like having a Marilyn Monroe in my hands; the 80s were like the 50s; it was all about symbols. She signed the album cover, “For the most perverted mother that I ever had.”

 

I remember when Madonna came out big on her second album, and all of a sudden everyone was rocking her look. I remember the “Like a Virgin” video when she was dancing on the gondola and the “Borderline” video where she kicked the lamppost with her lime green pumps—hah! I wasn’t even in love with the music, but the outfits—divine! How did it feel to see a legion of women—from little girls to grandmas, suddenly rocking variations on your designs?

 

There was a Madonna look-alike contest at Macy’s and 100 girls came. Andy Warhol and I were judges and we had a lot of fun. It was surreal but kind of sad at the same time that they could not have their own personalities. That was the power of MTV! But think of it: it happened before with the Beatles, Michael Jackson, Sonny and Cher… It even happened to me. My biggest influence when I was young was David Bowie, his Ziggy Stardust looks, his music, so I went to London when I was 16th and bought green platform boots above the knees which I wore with hot pants, when I returned to my Catholic boarding school they asked me to change—just like Madonna!

(Visited 217 times, 1 visits today)
Please Share: