The music video for Applause, the first single from Lady Gaga‘s Artpop album, has dropped today after the track was leaked last week. As per Gaga, it’s a bewildering array of seemingly random looks and characters – but eagle-eyed fans will realise that each look has already debuted in the new issue of V magazine shot by Inez & Vinoodh, who also directed the video. This being Gaga, however, nothing is ever as it seems, so we’ve taken the liberty of breaking down every single Gaga look in Applause.
1. The ‘Courtney Love in a Hedi Slimane editorial’ look
A nod to her roots as brown-haired proto-Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta? Before the spirit of Gaga possessed her, we can imagine Germanotta sitting in her pants at home, agonizing over her “creative direction” in a small Manhattan walk-up rental and praying to Courtney Love, patron saint of unwashed hair and late-night, booze-fuelled creative sessions. This is Gaga doing the kind of dishevelled grunge chic as seen in the new Saint Laurent campaigns.
2. The ‘Little Edie from Grey Gardens’ look
Everyone in fashion loves Grey Gardens, not just for the fabulous turbans, but also for communicating the very real fear that we’ll inevitably die alone in our lavish mansion, surrounded by beautiful clothes and being eaten by our Swarovski-studded collared cats. The all black ensemble is very ‘drama school breathing exercise’, but the parachute coat keeps it couture with a hint of Margiela.
3. The ‘Pierrot from Commedia dell’Arte’ look
The front cover of the ‘Applause’ single, and already the subject of very intense academic debate. When was the last time you saw One Direction referencing 16th century Italian theatre? That’s right: never.
4. The ‘ghost of Gaga past’ look
Next up, Gaga in a cage. The bright yellow Marilyn hair harks back to Gaga’s fluro curls in Telephone, but the smeared stage make-up says Ronald McDonald come by hard times. The message: Gaga’s got so many past incarnations she has to keep them in cages, so they don’t attack each other like mirror demons.
5. The ‘Tilda Swinton as a brony’ look
This one is McQueen androgyny with Tilda Swinton-esque amounts of hair gel, but the glittery tail is 100% My Little Pony. Also, she is emerging out of a top hat with its own Lady Gaga logo (you can see it earlier in the video). The takeaway here is that Lady Gaga is the
rabbit pony in the hat and her own magician. Or something.
6. The ‘Night Porter’ look
A nod to Charlotte Rampling’s role in The Night Porter, where she performs a Marlene Dietrich song with her leather-clad gloves planted firmly on her breasts. It’s not the first time Gaga’s drawn inspiration from the iconic scene – the black leather gloves made their debut in LoveGame back in 2009.
7. Gaga as a talking swan
Nope, we got nothing.
8. The ‘Birth of Venus’ look
The hair from the now-infamous V nude shot makes a reappearance and looks much better in motion, possibly because the dodgy hairline isn’t as visible. It’s like if Boticelli’s Venus came to live and tried to kick the shit out of a few tourists in the Uffizi. Who knows how many tubes of Superglue Inez & Vinoodh sacrificed to keep the seashell crotch on? You have to suffer for fashion, baby.
9. The ‘Grace Coddington outtake’ look
Gaga as a pre-Raphaelite Scheherazade, with a bit of Gustav Klimt thrown in. It’s Orientalism filtered through a Grace Coddington lens, but seeing as it’s very pretty and not half as weird/offensive as ‘burqa swag‘, we’ll let this one pass.
Did we miss anything out? Let us know what you think of Applause below.
Words: Zing Tsjeng (Follow Zing on Twitter @misszing)