Some (Not So) Serious Fashion Analysis Of Lady Gaga’s "Applause" Music Video

All the zany looks — applause-worthy or not — and the popular cultural reference points Gaga’s likely appropriating.

1. Lady Gaga just dropped the music video for “Applause,” lead single from her new Artpop album.

It’s directed by much-renowned fashion photographers Inez von Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, who are clearly having a whale of a time making Gaga look silly.

3. Applause! Get it?

(Britney doesn’t quite get it, but oh well.)

4. Anyway, the video is kinda weird.


(Helena Bonham-Carter does this “call me unhinged, I dare you?” look better, it must be said.)

6. Stop looking through my bedroom curtains and into my soul so deep Gaga, please.

MIMES GONE WILD, it’ll be a thing soon enough.

7. There’s shots of Gaga wearing that smeared facepaint she likes so much at the moment.

Also she has an ARTPOP tattoo now.

8. Inspired by: how you look/feel when you wake up with last night’s makeup still on.

9. Or possibly that time Homer invented a makeup gun on an episode of The Simpsons.

10. There’s some sexy writhing around on a plush mattress, as you do when wearing lacy underwear and ankle boots.

11. Inspired by: nothing in particular. Gaga just wants to let us all know she’s ready to be seen in skimpy undies again.

12. And then she’s dancing around with a parachute.

13. Doesn’t it look like good fun?

14. Inspired by: Little Edie Beale, those parachute games you used to play at summer camp when it rained, and a small dose of sorcery/mustard gas.

Hopefully not mustard gas though, because that’s not very healthy.

15. Gaga might be a little tangled up in all the billowy silk though. Here she’s looking a little distressed.

16. But then, a smile! And some bleached eyebrows.

17. Inspired by: any of those times when Tyra Banks arbitrarily ordered a would-be model to bleach her brows as part of the Top Model makeover experience.


Pictured here: Cycle 13 hopeful Erin Wagner, who is also wearing a bikini woven out of rope. How you like that, Gaga?

18. More heavy makeup.

19. Four times the heavy, heavy makeup.

20. Inspired by: those faces RuPaul’s Drag Race star Alyssa Edwards makes in the mirror while applying her makeup.


21. Any excuse to include this delightful illustration, basically.

And besides, we know Gaga loves herself some Drag Race.

22. Then there’s this freaky circus act madness, which not even the hardiest of Gaga’s followers should try at home.

Unless they’re practicing with a Katy Perry fan, that is.

23. And this leather glove bikini paired with, wait for it, more leather gloves.


24. Inspired by: this look from the fall 2011 Jean Charles de Castelbajac collection.

Via Getty Images

25. And also inspired by: Vogue’s international Editor-at-Large Hamish Bowles. Bear with me on this one.

At first glance it’s more inspired by Tilda Swinton’s artful androgyny, but that floppy fringe is very Hamish.

26. Anyway, this is the look for the obligatory raunchy dance number, naturally, which in turn is just the sort of project Anna Wintour would ask Hamish to take on as his latest bout of stunt reportage.

Remember that time he auditioned for The X Factor? It can’t get “worse” than that.

27. This moment in particular is also inspired by:


28. Except then this happens.

29. Inspired by: epilepsy.

30. Briefly, poor sad Gaga gets trapped in one of those time/space portals that popped up all over Donnie Darko.

31. She’s carrying an extremely large “herbal cigarette,” but left her lighter in one of her other sheer ballgowns that has a pocket.

32. Inspired by: Mata Hari meets the singing flower sellers in Covent Garden market circa Oliver.

Also, there are shades of Florence Welch/Marina Abramovic’s mournful performance art.

33. OK, inter-galaxy portal travel over and Gaga has now sprouted some skeletal wings. Perhaps a side effect of bending the rules of space and time.

Or just a hokey accessory. You decide!

34. She has not sprouted horns, because facial prostheses are so 2011, but she’s content to make do with some pointy fingers.

35. Inspired by: birds, I guess. Skinny ones.

36. Speaking of — NOW SHE’S A SWAN. A fire-breathing swan, specifically.

37. AND NOW SHE’S A HORSE. A clothes horse. A couture clothes horse!

Her pants are shiny and she’s doing the robot. What more do/could you people WANT?

38. Inspired by: only the coolest carousel horses at the discoteque. Also, maybe bronies. Just about everything comes back to bronies one way or another.

39. These inconvenient puffs of pastel smoke are still happening. It’d be more fun if they were cotton candy, wouldn’t it?

After all, if Gaga’s fine to roll around in cake and heavy frosting for a video then loosely spun sugar’s a breeze.

40. Note Gaga’s matching clam shell panties. Inspired by: what Mean Girls’ Karen Smith would wear to a Halloween party if she’d dressed as Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.”

Sadly this won’t ever happen, because 1) Karen Smith isn’t real, and 2) even if she was, she’d think Botticelli was a type of pasta and carbs are bad, duh.

41. This is just a scary screencap I felt needed to be shared.

42. This is what happens when you take away Gaga’s gold-plated wheelchairs.

43. And then there’s this last facemask, likely poached from the wardrobe department on a Guillermo del Toro movie.

We all wish we’d worn one and thus avoided watching that last scary crawly Gaga GIF.

45. See the video in full here, if you enjoy that sort of thing.

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