The normalisation of Lady Gaga
Has anyone seen Lady Gaga lately? You'd be forgiven if you didn't recognise her.
She once ran the most outlandish costume show in entertainment history, but there she is in New York wearing a long, black dress, looking positively ... what's the word I'm looking for here ... normal.
Sure, it is a bit fancy for daytime but, as far as Gaga goes, she seems, I'm going to say it, rather ordinary.
Where have the crazy outfits gone? Not only is she dressing like a regular person, she looks lovely while doing it. And this isn't her first pretty dress. She's recently been spotted in a variety of "normal" gowns.
What happened to Lady Gaga? She of the meat-dress variety, whose only aim was to shock the public?
It's simple science. What goes up, must come down, said Isaac Newton. After a meteoric rise to fame on the back of solid talent, she propelled her career forward with the power of image.
"Oh look," we said, "there she is in plastic bubbles!" "Here she is wearing a guitar as a dress!" "Did you see her as Marie Antoinette?"
And on and on it went. She wore underpants through airports and had a blonde wig fashioned into sunlight around her head to channel the Virgin Mary. But my personal favourites came towards the end, when you could tell she was running out of ideas.
The first was a lobster as a hat, her body in a hard plastic, mannequin-like casing. Then came the clincher: the meat dress she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. You know it, right? It was a dress. Made out of meat. Actual, raw steak slapped onto her skin like she was a walking BBQ.
She explained at the time it was a statement for what one believed in. But really, we all knew it was because the dress-up thing was done for.
Lobster on head? Meat as a dress? Gaga was clutching. It had reached the point where she couldn't go to her local supermarket without wearing some kind of Halloween costume. How could she possibly one-up herself? Then she arrived at the 2011 Grammys in a plastic egg shell. We couldn't even see her on the red carpet. Let's call it the moment she imploded.
After the bizarre egg-scapade (sorry), there was only one way to go. The outfits that used to make headlines were now ho-hum. "Oh, there's Gaga in another dolphin-llama-sunflower outfit," we'd mutter. So how was she to shock us?
Here lies the genius of her "normal" dress. Now when she's photographed, she's wearing - gasp - clothes! Granted, they're high-end, designer outfits that sometimes border on the surreal but still actual clothes. Not bubbles.
And we are genuinely surprised. A quick flick through her Instagram shows off her new normal. Her hair is a rich chocolate, she has a hint of smile, portraying herself in a beautiful, natural light.
Is this acknowledgement of self-acceptance perhaps? A message that she doesn't need to be a completely different character every time she gets dressed? That she's comfortable in her own skin? I'd like to think so.
But knowing Gaga, this is just the next stage of her image transformation and, like all true chameleons, she'll have another reinvention to shock us back into buying her music soon.
Sydney Morning Herald