Glossy Talk: Lady Gaga in Vogue's image

Glossy Talk: Lady Gaga in Vogue's image

"They used to call me rabbit teeth in school, and now I'm a real live VOGUE BEAUTY QUEEN!"

So tweeted Lady Gaga on receipt of her March issue American Vogue cover. Oh, dear. I am troubled. This is why:

- Gaga has been Anna Wintourised to within an inch of her page-boy bob. She looks like Agyness Deyn. Less Italian, less outrageous Gaga, more English Rose in Rodarte (or whatever brand she is wearing – Lanvin, maybe?). The shrew has been tamed. Granted, every magazine editor has an aesthetic (for Vogue Nippon, Gaga, who once said, "I will kill to get what I need", donned a meat dress), and Vogue's slew of glossy lovelies mostly comply with it (see after the jump) but to declare Lady Gaga was 'BORN THIS WAY' is rich. She has been manufactured by the pop machine, which has long since eclipsed her raw talent with sensationalised film clips and publicity stunts while drawing heavily from the Madonna School of Sartorialism, and then re-manufactured by Vogue to fit the glossy's mould, too. The blushing pink cover, though certainly showstopping, is giving me Tina Fey flashbacks.

- Of course, Vogue is in the business of sales and publicity, and so is Gaga, so it's a mutually beneficial alliance (hello, Gaga has a new single out this Friday). I wonder if Anna Wintour is a true fan.

- That Gaga's ambition is still about running away from the Catholic school girl from the Upper West Side with the rabbit teeth reportedly nicknamed "Big Boobs McGee" (aka Stefani Joanne Germanotta). The dissociation is extremely problematic – and a source of modern feminine discontent, for which Gaga might be an appropriate poster girl (you don't need an alter ego when you're happy with who you really are). Why, why are we so afraid of the little girls we left behind? What the heck are we making up for? Weight gain? Crooked teeth? Revenge on the self = morphing into someone else's image.

- Because landing an American Vogue cover – becoming a 'Beauty Queen' – might be considered by the eight million or so "Little Monsters" who follow Gaga on Twitter the epitome, because image is everything, beauty is everything, and what others think of us is the most important thing. For someone so anti-establishment, the Vogue validation is ironic. 

All this said, the cover is undeniably striking. And perhaps I am misinterpreting the message here; that Gaga represents hope for those girls on the fringes who want to join the pretty, popular girls in their club but don't have the confidence (and to them, "You can suck it"). Those girls should know that they can do great things – but need not aspire to be a beauty queen. I can't wait to read the cover story.

Girl With a Satchel


eliza said...

Wow, I didn't even realise it was Gaga. I thought it was Angyness Deyn on the cover!

Unknown said...

I think she looks pretty fierce considering it's US Vogue. I don't think I've ever seen such extreme hair and make-up on a Wintour covergirl.

"She has been manufactured by the pop machine, which has long since eclipsed her raw talent with sensationalised film clips and publicity stunts while drawing heavily from the Madonna School of Sartorialism."

It seems to me Lady Gaga is completely running her own show. In fact she's stated that to start with her label radically toned down her self-created image. You can see that in her first three video's. They could just as easily be Britney or Katy video's. Once she made a major splash she took over. She's pumped her own money into her latest video's and her tour, so she isn't being ruled by her label.

Honestly, like Madonna, her only major talent is in creating her brand. Her voice is good, not great, and the same can be said of her piano skills. She can write a catchy tune, but without her image they don't pack the same punch (see Britney's version of Telephone).

Linn said...

Found your blog through Lady M::)
And I am really glad I popped over to say hi...
Your page is heaven...

Have a great day, and greetings from Norway:)

Anonymous said...

Though I'm liking what she is wearing on this cover, Lady GaGa’s American Vogue cover I believe is sticking to her style aesthetic- wearing fashion as art, using fashion as performance. You can’t always have Lady GaGa in a meat dress or in leather and chains (as we sometimes see her in).

Ms Stef...

Maggie said...

I think I have to disagree with you on this one. I'm not sure that it's fair to say that she's been manufactured by the pop machine. The thing that makes Lady Gaga unique is the fact that she is largely her own creative director, unlike most pop stars such as Britney and Rihanna who definitely have a stronger reliance on stylists and less of a voice in the way they look. Also, what's the issue with drawing inspiration from Madonna? She's a feminist icon that changed what it meant to be a female pop star. Surely it would make sense that someone like Gaga would be drawn to her.

As for the cover look, I think she is still sticking to her guns with this one. While she's not wearing a meat dress, she's still wearing something that she would probably also wear on stage.

Unknown said...

Frankly I thought the Vogue cover and editorial were quite dull. I would liked to have seen different wigs, not just the one. It's true, Gaga has been Wintourised. In my opinion it just goes to show that Wintour's reign is over. Move along. Next! Hx