When was it determined that to be taken severely as an actress you have to costume in severe couture? I’m asking as a result of I by no means acquired the memo, however clearly, Lady Gaga and her styling crew did.
Plus, rumor has it that her Tiffany deal is the greatest pink carpet jewellery deal ever signed. Tonight, she’s stated to be carrying the Tiffany Yellow Diamond, weighing in at 128.54 carats — and final seen on Audrey Hepburn in a shoot for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
But how else to elucidate her transformation, as she has embarked on the “A Star Is Born” awards path, from an unpredictable, experimental vogue iconoclast who didn’t imagine in pants to a well-behaved model ambassador in large periwinkle Valentino, pure white Dior, Camelot-ready Alexander McQueen and silver Celine, every time accessorized with a whole bunch of carats of diamonds?
[See all the appears from the 2019 Oscars pink carpet here.]
Even in the context of high-fashion fashion, she’s playing it awfully safe. It is possible, after all, to go high-end and high-concept at the same time. Designers do some eccentric stuff. Consider, for example, the Armani dress she work to the 2010 Grammys, with an entire orbital system rotating around it, which gave new meaning to the phrase “out there.”
It is, of course, entirely Gaga’s right to mutate every few years into a new persona, both artistically and stylistically. In fact, such mutation is part of her identity. This is, after all, the woman who once emerged from a giant egg, above, at the Grammys. She claimed to have been marinating inside it for approximately three days.
And to be fair, her fashionization has probably been coming for awhile. We should have seen it coming when she accepted the 2016 Golden Globe for best actress in a limited series for her role in “American Horror Story,” wearing Marilyn Monroe-esque black velvet Versace.
In some ways you can trace the evolution of her dress in the evolution of her career, from underground superstar to actor, and also, the evolution of her stylists. There were her early shock-factor years with Nicola Formichetti (he later became creative director of Diesel and now has his own line); her more classic bombshell period with Brandon Maxwell, who put her in a lot of Alaïa and with her encouragement also opened his own brand (he has a real thing for old Hollywood); and now, Sandra Amador and Tom Eerebout.
But I can’t believe I am the only one who feels like this particular pupal stage — Gaga, the Hollywood royalty version — is a little less inspiring, a little more mundane, and definitely less complicated than the others. She looks good, no question. Glamorous. But she also looks just like everyone else: a cog in the carpet marketing machine.
Maybe we should chalk it up to growing up. It’s not fair to demand our superstars remain rebels forever. It’s probably not even possible.
And yet. And yet. I find myself waxing nostalgic about those weird horn implants she had for awhile under her skin. I miss the crazy hoof-like shoes. I never thought I would say that, but there you go. Once upon an Oscars we, the watching public, thought Bjork and her famous swan dress were as wild as it was going to get, but just imagine what early Gaga could have done with current Gaga’s red carpet moments. The mind boggles.
Also, just imagine what Ryan Seacrest would have done with any of those particular fashion moments. They might actually have rendered him speechless. Which would have been a small step for one woman, and a big step for womankind.
Would appearing in her erstwhile eye-popping outfits have jeopardized Gaga’s chances at an Oscar, or those of her film? Maybe. They could have offended an interest group (PETA), which could have hurt the box office and swayed the Academy. They could have become the story, when she wanted her tale to be about talent. They could have been an unproductive distraction. So perhaps the classic choices are the diplomatic choices. (Not that toeing the party line has equated to more or less success for the film.)
And they would certainly have been an irresistible dare to the doyennes of the worst-dressed lists, and landing on those probably isn’t much fun. Except of all people, Gaga never seemed to care too much about such bourgeois concerns. That was part of the point of her: other people’s worst-dressed lists were her best-loved teachable moment. By embracing her own weirdness and pushing the limits of “acceptable” and “societal” she gave everyone else, all her little monsters, permission to do so too. She could have done the same for her new silver-screen peers, now.
Gaga could have helped them break the yolk, which everyone says lies so heavy on their shoulders, of red carpet conformity. Forced us all to wrestle with our own preconceptions about what beauty and stardom really means. Helped fashion expand its own thinking. Challenged the status quo instead of pandering to it. Proved with a wink that her most recent incarnation was simply a character she had played to perfection (give her an award for that!).
Because the thing is, if she is to be believed, she wasn’t born this way.