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Lady Gaga at SXSW
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Lady Gaga’s most jaw-dropping fashion moments

From dressing up in drag to wearing bleach-soaked beef steaks, here are five of Gaga’s most iconic looks

Aside from appearing in Tom Ford’s campaign film, adding a heady dose of Mother monster to American Horror Story and getting turnt at Fashion Week, Lady Gaga has been keeping things weirdly low key this year. However, rumour has it that the pop provocateur’s forthcoming album, the follow-up to 2013’s ARTPOP, could be peaking right around the corner, with disco king Nile Rodgers proclaiming that the two have been working together, and Elton having already heard the album and given it his seal of approval. But while new music from Gaga is exciting, it’s her pioneering, and forever-outrageous attitude to fashion that has always elevated her to superstardom. To celebrate Gaga’s highly anticipated comeback, and the slew of jaw-dropping stage outfits that will inevitably follow, we’ve charted five of her most inimitable looks. They’re not all here, obviously – she has hundreds – but these are some of the best.


A rundown of Gaga’s most show-stopping style moments would hardly be complete without her original head-turner – a ball gown made from flanks of formaldehyde-soaked raw beef. The iconic meat dress, which was designed by Franc Fernandez and styled by Dazed’s former creative director Nicola Formichetti, was worn to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, and immediately caused an avalanche of question marks, with speculation of its symbolism ranging from anti-fashion to decay. Gaga then (sort of) explained by saying: "If we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights, pretty soon we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones." Wondering where the dress is now? It’s here!


The late, great Alexander McQueen and Mother Monster were a match made in fashion heaven, and when the designer created these extremely rare, uber-grotesque 30cm high Armadillo boots, Gaga was one of the first to wear them (in her “Bad Romance” video). When the iconic shoes were put up for auction earlier this year, Gaga put in the winning bid. “There is no diamond, no award, nothing I ever wanted more than a memory of my brief friendship with McQueen,” she explained in a memo written for V Magazine. “These shoes are the only tangible piece I have left of our work together… He wanted me to have them. They made their way back to me...I will be grateful long after I pass and join him wherever it is they put souls like us. Long live McQueen.”


With his greased black quiff, sullen expression and a lit cigarette forever dangling between two lips, Gaga’s drag king alter ego Jo Calderone is quite hot if you’re into brooding and mysterious types. This classic androgynous look was first unveiled in the September issue of Vogue Hommes Japan, before returning in Gaga’s Grammy Award-winning video for “You and I”. In a column for V Magazine, the singer explained how Calderone was born. “Beginning as an invention of my mind, Jo Calderone was created with Nick Knight as a mischievous experiment…In a culture that attempts to quantify beauty with a visual paradigm and almost mathematical standard, how can we fuck with the malleable minds of onlookers and shift the world’s perspective on what’s beautiful? I asked myself this question. And the answer? Drag." 


I mean… if you’re going to wear a spiky dress, really wear a spiky dress. This sparkling silver inflatable outfit was worn to the last gig of 2014’s ARTRAVE tour in Paris. And if you’re wondering how Gaga wore it in the taxi there, she didn’t – She arrived and walked up the pavement with her deflated silver “tentacles” looking limp and saggy before they were pumped with gas and blown up into spikes as this video so brilliantly demonstrates. This isn’t the first time somebody has used inflatable spikes as an outfit, though – Club Kid-cum-Drag Queen Vivacious wore one during RuPaul Season 6, lest we forget.


Of all Lady Gaga’s batshit live shows, her show at last year’s SXSW festival was probably the most outrageous. From having performance artist Millie Brown dramatically vomit green liquid all over her, to the pair scissoring atop a mechanical bull while Gaga screamed “Fuck you, pop music!” it wasn’t exactly low key. However, it was her hip-length straggly dreads, white fluffy cyborg coat and huge fake teeth that really caught our attention. And while it’s not her most “chic” look, we love it anyway. She also wore the grey/blonde extensions for her SXSW keynote speech, which marked the first time a woman had delivered one in 15 years. You can watch the speech in its entirety here.