Madonna's 1995 VMAS Gucci Look & The Resurgence Of Tom Ford-Era Fashion

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Alexandra Lozovschi

Madonna's iconic 1995 MTV Video Music Awards look continues to inspire. Twenty-six years after the Queen of Pop took the VMAS red carpet by storm in an unbuttoned blue shirt and sheer black bra by legendary Gucci designer Tom Ford, her outfit is being faithfully recreated by fans wanting to pay homage to the pop icon and to the reputed Italian maison in equal measure.

The timeless, bold look has recently been popping up on social media, with a few celebrities flawlessly emulating Madonna's memorable royal-blue satin moment, Fashionista is reporting. But that's not the only Ford-era Gucci creation that's seen a revival as of late. Read more below.

Madonna For Halloween

Madonna | Instagram

Proving that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Madonna's Gucci Fall 1995 look has re-emerged as a popular costume this Halloween. According to Fashionista, two different celebrities have replicated the vintage look for this year's holiday -- and the only spooky thing about it was how close they came to perfection.

While it's true that Madonna is unique and inimitable, both Real Housewives of New York star Leah McSweeney and Vogue's Liana Satenstein did their best to copy her unforgettable outfit.

McSweeney's rendition was a perfect replica down to the hair, makeup, and Moonman statue. Check it out on Instagram.

Meanwhile, Satenstein's version was more laid-back and had some degree of improvisation. Click here to see the end result.

Gwyneth Paltrow's Gucci Tribute

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Another iconic Ford-era Gucci look from around the same time was recreated last week by Gwyneth Paltrow for Gucci’s Love Parade fashion show in Los Angeles, Vogue reported.

Photographed above in a Gucci dress at Madonna and Gucci's 2007 event "A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi," the Iron Man actress, 49, paid a special tribute to Ford by reviving the designer's signature red velvet pantsuit that she wore at the 1996 VMAS.

Paltrow kept true to the Fall 1996 look, pairing a ruby-colored two-piece by the current Gucci creative director, Alessandro Michele, with a pale-blue shirt. She even wore the same low chignon hairstyle.

"Beautiful tailoring never goes out of style. I loved wearing @alessandro_michele @gucci creation based on the one I borrowed in 1996 by the master @tomford," Paltrow wrote on Instagram after the event. See her post below.

Tom Ford-Era Gucci Style

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According to Savoir Flair, it's not just nostalgia that has brought the vintage Gucci creations back into the spotlight. The Ford-era style has seen a resurgence as of late, with people re-embracing the American fashion designer's "slinky designs" and "fresh, rebellious" notion of "luxury."

"When we think 'Tom Ford for Gucci,' we think of rich jewel-toned palettes, mega furs, tight leather pants, sumptuous velvet suits, and sensual cut-outs placed right across the hip bones," writes the magazine. "His aesthetic was a tad tawdry, irreverent at its core, and instantly identifiable."

With today's Gucci style being so different from the label's vibe during Ford's tenure -- Michele's vision is "eclectic, androgynous, covered-up, and layered with dozens of accessories," Savoir Flair points out -- Ford's groundbreaking designs are being revisited by those who identify with his fashion.

Online Recognition

Fifteen years after Ford left Gucci, his designs for the Italian maison are still being celebrated, with Instagram fan accounts such as TomFordForGucci giving them the online recognition they deserve.

Run by Gucci client advisor Justin Friedman, who works under Michele, the Instagram page posts freely available runway images and YouTube clips of the famed designer's memorable creations.

According to Friedman, it was Georgina Grenville's white dress with the hip cut-out from the Fall 1996 collection, shown below, that ignited his love for Ford's Gucci style.

“It left an indelible mark. I’d never seen a dress like that before. I had no concept of who Tom Ford was,” he said in a 2020 interview with Vogue. “I had no real concept of what he meant to the fashion world at that moment, but that dress can’t even explain the lasting impression it left.”

'Relevant To Modern Audiences'

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As Friedman pointed out, what's truly compelling about Ford's designs for Gucci is their suggestive nature and readiness to tease and provoke -- something that's making them increasingly popular today. Speaking about his favorite campaigns, the Spring 1997 and Fall 1997, Friedman says "there was something lurid about them."

"The Spring 1997 campaign had Georgina Grenville and Jason Fedele in the desert. They were all in dark clothes and all of those draped, velvet dresses and the slinky drainpipe pants. It was this very specific ’90s thing, where it’s ‘I’m turned on by you but I’m angry about it,’” he told Vogue.

According to Friedman, Ford's influence continues to be mirrored in current Gucci designs.

“Every now and then, a detail will pop up from a season from when Tom was there. It was a whole different thing but the energy behind it is similar,” he said. “It is a good feeling to be working for a house that Tom Ford is responsible for making relevant to modern audiences.”