Lady Gaga’s fashion choices are known for their diverse range, oscillating between sophisticated and completely eccentric. The singer of “Bad Romance” and “Shallow” is not only versatile in her musical style but also in her fashion statements. From revealing outfits to more avant-garde ensembles in “A Star is Born,” Lady Gaga’s fashion choices span the spectrum from provocative to downright outrageous. Let’s delve into her unconventional style.
Surrealism is a characteristic feature of Lady Gaga’s fashion, encompassing dreamlike elements, illogical combinations, distortions, and the manifestation of the unconscious mind. Her award shows, music videos, and album covers effortlessly fit into this narrative. To fully grasp Gaga’s unique finesse, let’s start at the beginning: her 2009 music video, “Poker Face.”
While this music video may not exhibit surrealism as explicitly as her other videos, “Poker Face” marked the beginning of her provocative expressions. Rising from a pool in a soaked appearance, Gaga adorns herself with latex clothing, mirrored sunglasses, and is surrounded by large dogs.
Soon after, Gaga made waves at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards with a blood-soaked performance of “Paparazzi” and later accepted an award in an extravagant yet unconventional Alexander McQueen ensemble. Almost nude underneath, Gaga’s red lace dress served as an absolute shield above her knees, including her face. It’s worth noting that in 2009, there was no pandemic, so covering her face was quite unexpected. Atop her head, Gaga wore a crown, evoking the image of a “red queen.”
Another collaboration with McQueen took place in the iconic “Bad Romance” video, where everyone is clad head-to-toe in the designer’s creations. While other videos may simply showcase fashion, Gaga’s video shares imagery that conveys rebirth, fear, and how she assimilates and wears them like a dream.
Not long after, the meat dress captured the attention of the fashion industry. The collaboration between Franc Fernandez, Nicola Formichetti, and Lady Gaga caused a sensation, using their platform to convey a message through their style. Despite animal rights groups condemning the design, Gaga remained unapologetic, explaining the symbolism behind wearing raw meat. Simply put, the dress represents the result of choosing silence over fighting for one’s rights. All that remains is the “meat on your bones.”
In 2020, Gaga’s Chromatica era began in full force, featuring significant hints of surrealism. Her short film, “911,” drew inspiration from her past dreams, illustrating a strange, fantastical world with vivid colors and royal connotations. At the end of the video, it’s revealed that none of the dream-like scenes were real, but rather unconscious experiences resulting from a car accident and drug abuse. Through the use of surreal imagery, Gaga painted a poignant narrative about mental health, specifically the relationship between reality and the common dreams experienced in emotional disorders. Her costumes in the film were also ethereal and illusionary.
Most recently, Lady Gaga made a strong impression at the 59th Presidential Inauguration by wearing a Schiaparelli ensemble, a brand known for its deep connection to surrealism. Gaga’s attire appeared relatively subdued but certainly not lacking in significance. According to Schiaparelli’s artistic director, Daniel Roseberry, the prominent mockingjay motif is not a replica of the Hunger Games logo but rather a symbol of healing.
Whether Lady Gaga’s relationship with surrealistic fashion is intentional or simply an extension of her true self, few musicians embrace art and fashion movements as wholeheartedly as she does. What’s fascinating is that no one knows what she’ll do next.