Haus of Gaga Archive
A few weeks ago, the old Lady Gaga came out to play. Strutting, dancing, and posing up the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the singer and actress arrived for her cohosting duties at the Met Gala in not one, but four different outfits layered on top of each other. There were props involved too. The final ensemble was vintage Gaga: a glittery black bra, panties, fishnet tights, and ridiculously high platform boots.
When she first began her reign as pop music’s lady provocateur, Gaga, née Stefani Germanotta, became famous for her outrageous, scandalous, and always artistically inclined wardrobe choices. The bra and panties were her signature, followed by standout moments like the time she wore a dress made entirely of thin cut sirloin steaks to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. In between the costumes came designer red carpet gowns from houses like Versace and Valentino. But in recent years, Lady Gaga has tamed a bit, starting with her makeunder during the Joanne album phase. While promoting A Star Is Born, Gaga went full-on Hollywood glam, trading in the Philip Treacy lobster headpieces and latex for voluminous ball gowns and classic hair and makeup. The Met Gala performance perhaps foreshadowed a return to her wild child days of dress up. Now, she’s about to celebrate an unearthing of her most iconic—some might say craziest—fashion choices of the last decade.
Opening tomorrow in Las Vegas and coinciding with her residency at the Park MGM, running through November 8 of this year, the Haus of Gaga exhibition showcases around 40 pieces of clothing and accessories that have never before left Gaga’s personal archive. These include the custom Versace bodysuits worn for her 2017 Super Bowl performance, the fake blood-stained ensemble she wore to perform her hit “Paparazzi” at the 2009 VMAs, and the sunglasses made out of cigarettes that she donned in the music video for “Telephone.”
Of course, there’s also the infamous meat dress, which has been preserved, according to the creative head of Haus of Gaga Nicola Formichetti, like “a piece of jerky.” “It’s been dried and we’ve preserved it all this time, but it has another life now in this experience, all of these clothes do,” he says of the collection, on which he has collaborated with Lady Gaga since the beginning of her career. Formichetti has been in charge of curating and staging the display, which is open and free of charge to visitors. He is also working on a line of exclusive products that will be available for sale in the space, as well as a dedicated area for fans to donate to Lady Gaga and her mother’s charity Born This Way.
Today, speaking on the phone from the exhibition space, Formichetti was feeling emotional about the new project. “Standing in this room is surreal,” he said of the disco ball and spotlight bedecked room. “This has been a dream of ours for a long time. We’ve always wanted to do something like this and create a space where all of the outfits and shoes and masks and wigs could all live together in a single place for fans to enjoy.” The “little monsters” were in fact a very important part of this archival project. As Formichetti notes, “Throughout this process I’ve been in touch with her fans and asking them which outfits they want to see and how they envisioned the exhibition space. Gaga has always been doing what she’s doing for her fans from day one, so it was important to have them be a part of this experience.”
Outside of the most memorable and over-the-top archival items, there are also beautiful designer dresses and shoes from Alexander McQueen, as well as the much more low-key jeans and T-shirt worn on screen by Gaga’s character Ally in A Star Is Born. “It’s amazing to see all of these different fashion pieces next to one another,” Formichetti says. “The beauty of Lady Gaga is that she can be anything but still maintain her sense of self.” He also notes that despite the years of work he and the Haus of Gaga team have put in, along with the collaborative efforts of runway designers, “no matter if it’s a red carpet gown, a pair of jeans, or a pair of sunglasses made of smoking cigarette butts, the real magic happens when she wears it.”
Above, here’s an exclusive first look at the Haus of Gaga archival fashion experience, jerky dress included.
Originally Appeared on Vogue