I was hoping to develop an article about the Vogue dance, also known as
the Performance dance which is a 20s dance. However I heard that Madonna
does a variation of this dance in her video for Vogue. This article
revolves around Madonna's Vogue music video.
The great feather fan lifts at the start of
Madonna's Vogue. We are introduced to its world. There is Madonna's
blonde hair, the pointed white collars of the men. There is Madonna's
striking lacy see-through blouse. See too the costume that Madonna
chooses in the final scenes. The trousers / pants that she wears has
slight flair, slightly cropped too. And of course the pointy hat of her
dance companion has to be noticed.
In Vogue there are many different settings or you
could say there are many different costume settings The general designs
for the video are interesting. Madonna chooses the tailored look, and
Vogue happens in a sophisticated elegant setting so this choice can be
There is also an element of Art Deco in the
interior design. And the Art Deco-like decoration isn't just decoration: it also sets up the mood of the video, the mood of the setting. Or
maybe in Madonna's Vogue, the mood is 'moodless'. For Art Deco isn't a
mood. It's a form of Art and it's interesting that you can connect it to
a mood but maybe it is wrong to do this. However Madonna's Vogue can
remind you of some pictures of Lempicka and the people in it and
Lempicka's pictures are a variation of Art Deco.
Take a picture of Lempicka..and choose a woman..and
then choose the performers..and choose then how they integrate and go
together...likewise choose the models in Vogue..who are they..tall,
slender men...with chiselled look. And then there are the women. In
Vogue, a woman is the leader and that is Madonna, a kind of queen..or
just a sort of Madame dressed up as a Monsieur but either way she is the
Madonna's Vogue is a performance. The stage is
opened when the feather fan lifts. The feather fan rises upwards, maybe
in a slight swirling clockwise movement. And then there is the space
inside. How do you describe Vogue. In some way it is about fur and
nakedness: fur is the ultimate covering for the body and then there is
the elegant tailored look of the men as well as the women. And then
there is the nakedness apparent in the see-through blouse of Madonna as
well as the general eroticism of the video performance.
At the beginning the models stand like statues and
they sweep their bodies with their hands. Hand movement is a form of
dance as well as the movements of the leg and body in general. The
models stand still like actors, posers; they are people posing like
actors; so a sense of sophistication is apparent. Note what the
performance entails. The performance is to stand and dance like a statue
and more importantly to move as a statue and then to be still again.
See the shadow/color and other areas of fashion in
the video performance. Other elements like the line of the sleeve for
both men and women are important: The neck lines too and their collars
for the men. The silhouette, that tailored clothing produces, affects
the whole look and feel of the video performance. Remember too the two
women back to back in slight profile and see too the performer swirling
in his chair almost in a quarter motion,
The effect produced is not decadence. Maybe it is a
definition of decadence. That is how you can approach the music video;
You can approach Madonna's Vogue as a definition of decadence but I
think this is wrong. There is nothing at all decadent about this video
performance and the mood in it.
The first thirty to thirty-six seconds of the video
are about pose and also the location and setting. Setting can also refer
to costume setting as well as interior setting. Then there is Madonna's
open seduction of the viewer: and in 1 minute 16, there is a Madonna
dance. She is a power-woman type, an image popular in the 80s and early
90s. Then there is a pit dance. The first real Performance-type dance
happens in a kind of pit. Then in one minute 37, Madonna sleeks to the
window. This scene shows us again the setting or backdrop of the video.
It is like a Hollywood mansion of the 20s and 30s.
Vogue is about the setting. At one minute 30-37
Madonna dances and then walks away to the window, to stand like the
peroxide blonde confident goddess she is.. It is a deep night outside
and a deep setting inside: something turbulent and melodramatic where
the setting outside mirrors the mood inside and in Vogue, there is
certainly a mood which aims to permeate the whole setting.
The pose is at the core of the whole music video,
and there is more to it than just striking a pose. And that is
choreography...choreographing the pose. When the video comes to its
complete development at about four minutes 20, there is the image of
Madonna with tossed hair. The dance feels more like a dance in a New
York club. Still the pose is at the core of the video. And the backdrop,
the setting, the costuming, it's all black and white. It's all grainy,
black, white. One can notice the sleek suits...and the sleek looks.
And then there is Madonna at two minutes
thirty-three in a Hollywood- starlet mood. There is a heavier dance
sequence after this. The final sequence of looks or photos , Madonna in
bath, in corset, show us how the video performance has developed from
the early poses into a sophisticated music video performance.
You can see in Vogue that the Performance dance too
is about poise in the face. It is also about hands crossing the face and
the body: A full performance dance of the body. The costuming which
concentrates mainly on white and black colors is ideal for this type of
performance. In one scene, one man wears a white suit while the other
two men wear black suits. See also in the early stage of the video at
about 47 seconds, Madonna, the recognised main performer, sits, not
directly facing the outside or the camera. Poise, position are
important. The body and face are in half profile. Is this a pose? It is
one of the poses in the music video.
In designing a setting for Vogue, it is important
also to materialise the
hollywood sophistication in the
20s and 30s
. The setting and costuming and overall design development
in Vogue and other videos is like a hidden language.
This article was written by Joel for
publication on Apparel Search.
If you have interest in contacting Joel,
you can do so at
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