It's strange to think that Lady Gaga has been attending major awards shows for only three years. Her wardrobe has made more of an impact and created more of an uproar than most attendees manage in an entire career. While many other pop stars dress for attention, Gaga still is the one to beat; Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry may be coming close, but they can't compete just yet. With the 2012 Grammy nominations being announced this Wednesday (on a show featuring a live Gaga performance), we're getting a head start on the inevitable Gaga fashion mania by looking back at some of the Lady's best awards-show looks. Because let's face it: After her alien-pod arrival at the most recent Grammys, Gaga has her own huge, gravity-defying platform shoes to fill this coming year.
Sifting through Gaga's numerous outrageous red-carpet and performance looks, we've narrowed it down to the best 10 in terms of fit, materials, shape/volume...and, most importantly, audience impact. Let's take a look at Lady Gaga's top 10 awards show fashion moments:
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10. Lady Gaga accepted her Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album in 2011 wearing a molded leather bodice by her go-to label, Mugler, along with long leather gloves and her signature towering platforms. The piece featured jutting alien-bone structures and, most notably, a full bubble butt.
9. It was a glittery night for Gaga at the 2010 Grammy Awards. In fact, all three of her Armani Privé looks from that night made our list for one reason or another. While her wildly structured shoulder, elbow, and cuff wings were forces of their own, it was the crystallized lightning-bolt headpiece that earned this outfit a spot on our list. Created by Philip Treacy (the milliner responsible for many Royal Wedding hats, including the much-ballyhooed toppers worn by Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie), the show-stopping piece was quite a sight by itself, but it also likely stopped the show for the poor chump who had to sit behind her.
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8. At the recent MTV Europe Music Awards, Gaga defied space and time by wearing saucer-y looks exclusively from Paco Rabanne's spring 2012 collection. Matched with another of Treacy's headpieces, Gaga ceased to be human and instead looked like she was a guest star on "Star Trek: The Next Generation." But then again, Gaga never was much on the same planet as most of us.
7. While not as shocking in design as many of her other outfits, Gaga's tightly cut, figure-flaunting performance look by Armani Privé at the 2010 Grammys certainly helped put to bed the rumors that she was actually a man.
6. Early in her career, Lady Gaga surprised the audience at Canada's 2009 MuchMusic Video Awards by having fire come out of her chest. While the rest of the outfit could've easily been worn by anyone from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O to Beyoncé, Gaga's dangerously exploding bustier helped her quickly climb the ranks of fashion's most daring divas. And this was years before Katy's shot sparklers out of her own chest in the "Firework" video!
5. This is why we took shape very seriously into account. In a white tiered gown by Italian designer Francesco Scognamiglio, Lady Gaga was probably never more covered up on a red carpet than she was for the 2010 Brit Awards in London. The look was somewhat akin to a choir boy's robe, or maybe a tablecloth tossed over a hat rack, and it still ranks as one of her more out-of-character choices. A voluminous dress paired with an equally voluminous hair piece, this outfit appeared to be chosen mostly to dramatize a reveal of Gaga's barely-there lace ensemble for her performance later that night.
4. The last of her Armani Privé outfits on this list, Lady Gaga looked absolutely stunning in this structured, celestial dress, reminiscent of Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard Of Oz. Complete with her own star to hold, the reinterpretation of a classic ball gown shape fitted with galactic rings made for an eccentrically elegant piece. Paired with imposing yet delicately-footed rhinestone platforms and an exaggerated classic Hollywood hairdo, the whole ensemble almost made Lady Gaga look like a proper lady...while still staying Gaga.
3. We'd seen male celebrities in drag on the red carpet (no, Kanye West wearing women's clothes doesn't count), but when Gaga's gender-bending alter ego Jo Calderone--prosthesis included--hit the MTV VMAs this year, it was a real shocker. A character of her own making, Gaga committed to this crazy-eyed, foul-mouthed greaser role throughout the entire show, even when ironically accepting the award for Best Female Video.
Red carpet photo by C Flanigan/FilmMagic; Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
2. Other celebrities walk the red carpet. This year at the Grammys, Lady Gaga was carried on it. Accompanied by an entourage of high-fashion alien escorts, Lady Gaga created shockwaves among the paparazzi with her brief appearance in an egg-like pod. The collaborative effort of futuristic designer Hussein Chalayan and House of Mugler, Lady Gaga reportedly "incubated" in the pod until her performance on the live show. She even needed the assistance of an oxygen tank to remain in the pod--now that is dedication to a look! Outside the pod, she wore an outfit by Mugler that in cut was not very interesting, but its use of clinically colored latex conjured images of a bleak alien autopsy.
1. What other outfit could we have possibly chosen for the top spot? Lady Gaga's meat dress by Franc Fernandez at the 2010 MTV VMAs stirred up some of the most vigorous commentary over a single look ever, both inside and outside the fashion world. Praised by some, railed against by many others (PETA members, for starters), the 35-pound raw beef dress, paired with beef-wrapped shoes and matching beef purse, was undoubtedly one of the most polarizing ensembles in recent memory. This alone proved what a genius Lady Gaga is at attracting attention, yet it didn't appear to be a publicity stunt--just the result of a genuine love for ground-breaking fashion. The dress now resides, jerky-fied, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Which is your favorite Gaga fashion moment? And what do you think she'll wear at the next Grammys? Leave your comments below!