To state the obvious, it’s been a good year for Lady Gaga. From the moment she appeared on the red carpet in exquisite Valentino couture at A Star Is Born’s Venice premiere, she’s been on a winning-at-life streak – culminating in Oscar nominations for Best Original Song and Best Actress (and confirmation of her engagement to CAA agent Christian Carino). On Sunday night, she’s set to perform at the Grammys for the fifth year in a row, where she also happens to be up for five awards. Bradley Cooper, meanwhile, will be at the BAFTAs representing A Star Is Born, where Gaga is a contender for Best Actress. Naturally.
It’s the triumphant return that everyone has been waiting for since 2013 – when ARTPOP dropped and Gaga fell from public grace (exactly as she had predicted she would all of the way back on The Fame, for those who were paying attention) – and, as comebacks go, it’s been pretty flawless. There might have been better, more poignant films than A Star Is Born released this year, but I defy you to find one more enjoyable to watch. If you somehow failed to be moved by Lady Gaga’s closing number “I’ll Never Love Again”, I would suggest checking yourself for a pulse.
Throughout the promotions cycle, she’s made decidedly grown-up fashion and beauty choices. There was the metallic Givenchy dress she wore to the Los Angeles premiere, offset by a 100-carat diamond necklace and 20-carat diamond earrings from Bvlgari. There was the velvet Armani Privé number – complete with a rhinestone-studded veil – at the Toronto International Film Festival. The most recent standout? A cream Dior gown flown out for the SAG Awards from Paris literally days after it was presented at Couture Week.
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Except there is a part of me – a part of all of us, surely? – that misses the old Gaga. The one who ran to the bodega near her apartment on the Lower East Side wearing Alexander McQueen’s Armadillo heels. The one who wore an outfit covered with Kermit the Frogs (and a tiny decapitated Kermit fascinator!) to protest fur. The one who literally wrapped herself in steaks and turned a cutlet into a hair accessory in the name of political commentary. The one who managed to Tweet to her staggering numbers of followers on a Blackberry with three-inch-long talon-like nails.
I miss that Gaga less because of her wardrobe itself, of course, and more because of the attitude she represented. It takes a certain kind of woman to meet the Queen in head-to-toe red spandex and credit Elizabeth I as her inspiration – or to go to the VMAs in character as her male alter ego Jo Calderone, swigging repeatedly from a hip flask while watching Beyoncé perform. I cannot imagine what Gaga will be wearing to the Oscars, but how could it possibly top the absolute mood that was her being carried around in a giant egg supported by ridiculously beautiful models in facial prosthetics at the 2011 Grammys?
In a political climate when reading your daily newspaper can be a gut-wrenching experience – particularly as a female – all of us could use a little more of old-school Gaga's tongue-in-cheek defiance and in-your-face fearlessness in our lives. Then again, I have a feeling that the revolutionary spirit still lives in her – even if she no longer runs around downtown Manhattan wearing little more than duct tape over her nipples and fishnets – like when you see images of her commandeering a giant robot and wearing a bodysuit made from LED lights at her newly-opened Las Vegas residency. All I can say is, welcome back, Gaga. It’s good to see you. No matter what you’re wearing.
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- Arts & Lifestyle
- 20 Sep 2018