Yet as Gaga seemed to increasingly outdo herself with her odd fashion choices, fans appeared to be losing interest. Artpop, despite being her most outlandish fashion era of all, was her biggest commercial flop. (Gaga herself even tweeted, “I don’t remember ARTPOP.”) So like any smart superstar, she reinvented herself for her next album, Joanne, in 2016. Suddenly, the armadillo-shoe-wearing, charcuterie-wearing fashion icon had stripped things back—both in her music and personal style. Gaga began wearing simple denim cutoffs with a pink cowboy hat. This all-American, country-western look matched her new songs, which had a more acoustic feel.
This new, simplified Gaga continued in 2018 when the star became a Hollywood crossover, appearing in A Star Is Born—her first film role, for which she earned an Oscar nomination. During the film’s press tour, Gaga channeled classic Old Hollywood style with gowns from Valentino Haute Couture and Alexander McQueen, featuring a real emphasis on dazzling jewelry (such as this Tiffany Co. yellow stone, worn to last year’s Oscars, valued at over $30 million). The message was clear: The old Gaga couldn’t come to the phone—her wacky gimmicks were dead.
But Chromatica is reviving some of that signature Gaga weirdness—and we’ve missed her. We’re not the only ones, either. You’ve seen the viral memes and tweets across the globe, from fans who have excitedly proclaimed that “the rah rah bitch is back” (referencing lyrics from her single “Bad Romance,” of course—possibly her most fabulously bizarre video to date). In the year ahead, maybe she will try on one of the fantastical creations from the fall runways, which are practically begging to be worn by her. Only time will tell when that could be, but in these complicated times, a burst of joy and distraction will be welcomed. Once Gaga is ready to debut her marathon of Chromatica looks, you can bet it will be hard to look away.
Photo: Courtesy of Interscope Records