Meat dress to Met Gala: deconstructing Lady Gaga’s quirky relationship with the world of fashion

The singer, songwriter and actress has just taken on her next movie role, involving murder and Gucci

Powered by automated translation

Lady Gaga made history recently when she become the first person to win an Oscar, Grammy, Bafta and Golden Globe in a single year. And it's clear that the singer-songwriter-actress is in no mood to lay low and bask in her success, as she's already booked her next role – a part in a movie retelling the assassination of Maurizio Gucci, grandson of Gucci founder Guccio Gucci. In the new film, directed by Ridley Scott (Alien, Thelma & Louise) and based on Sara Gay Forden's book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed, Gaga will play Patrizia Reggiano, who was convicted of killing Maurizio, her ex-husband, after he left her for a younger woman. 

Gaga is no stranger to blending style with a touch of madness. Born Stefani Germanotta, she is as famous for her unconventional public image and bold fashion choices as she is for her singing and acting chops. Gaga started cultivating her bold persona even before the release of her 2008 debut album, The Fame. The year before, she performed at Lollapalooza wearing a skimpy disco-themed outfit. The look made a reappearance in the video to her smash hit single Just Dance.  

In the years that followed, Gaga donned a number of outfits, some praised, some shunned, but all talked about. In 2009, she made a statement against wearing fur on a German television show, with a bizarre jacket referencing the Muppet character Kermit the Frog. The next year she made headlines worldwide when she donned a dress made from cuts of beef at the MTV Video Music Awards. The famed meat dress, which came with a matching purse, hat and boots, polarised opinions. Time called it the top fashion statement of the year; animal rights group Peta was far less impressed.

Lady Gaga wears her controversial meat dress in 2010. AFP
Lady Gaga wears her controversial meat dress in 2010. AFP

Gaga's style took a turn in 2016, as she began to opt for old-school Hollywood glamour at awards shows. At that year's Academy Awards, she stunned fans in two elegant Alaia gowns (wardrobe changes at award shows are a Gaga staple). At the 2016 Golden Globe Awards, she proved yet again that she could grab attention without props when she hit the red carpet in a stunning black Versace gown and platinum hairdo that channelled Marilyn Monroe. At this year's Oscars, where she took home the award for Best Original Song – for Shallow, in A Star Is Born – she paid homage to Audrey Hepburn's classic Breakfast at Tiffany's look by combining a strapless black gown with an updo, long black gloves and a Tiffany & Co necklace previously worn by Hepburn.

With these looks, Gaga has proved she's not afraid to reinvent herself. At the 2019 Met Gala (where Camp: Notes on Fashion was the theme), she took her makeover to a whole new level by stripping her conservative fuchsia number and revealing three different looks underneath.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala - Met Gala - Camp: Notes on Fashion - Arrivals - New York City, U.S. - May 6, 2019 - Lady Gaga. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
One of Lady Gaga's three looks at this year's Met Gala, where the theme was Camp: Notes on Fashion. Reuters

It's almost fitting that her fashion sense translated to a mini-museum experience in Park MGM in Las Vegas earlier this month. Called Haus of Gaga: Las Vegas, the exhibition featured 40 pieces of clothing and accessories from Gaga's personal archive including, of course, the meat dress.