19 October 2009

LES Avant-Gardistes: Lady Gaga and Rei Kawakubo.

Here's some of the cover art from Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" album due out next month. Its relation to fashion, you ask? I saw it and I knew right away... Gaga is impersonating Rei Kawakubo, designer of the monolithic fashion house Comme des Garcons. The hair seems to be a direct reference with the angular bob and the straight bangs. The patent leather jacket Gaga is sporting seems to be a reference to Comme des Garcons Spring 2009 collection which made a huge use of angular, architectural, highly structured leathers.

Analyzing the picture a little bit more reveals Gaga's true genius. She is invoking not only the image of the fashion icon that Kawakubo is, but what Kawakubo has come to represent in and of herself.

Comme des Garcons is undoubtedly one of the most significant avant-garde fashion houses of the twentieth century. During the eighties, when everyone was all about color and pizazz, CDG was the first label to pioneer black as a high-fashion medium. I can't emphasize enough how their work with black in the 80s came to effect high fashion in the 90s or even street style today.

Gaga is invoking the avant-garde nature of CDG. I know what you're thinking... how can a Top 40 pop singer dare to call herself avant-garde? Well, my friends, I could go on and on and on about that one, but let's stick to the fashion. (In short, I think it was extremely avant-garde of Gaga before she was famous to go deep into the Lower East Side hipster scene in NYC and play pop music... brilliant!)

Just like Kawakubo has always been reclusive and media-shy, Gaga wants her work to speak for itself. She is holding her jacket across her face. The big dramatic haircut distracts us from her face. All we see of her is her piercing eyes. This ties into Lady Gaga's notions about "the fame" and how celebrity comes to transcend the individual. AGH IM GETTING CARRIED AWAY I COULD WRITE AN ESSAY ON THIS STUFF!!

Bottom line-- fashion/art/music is the name of the game, and Gaga wants us to realize that her art is becoming monolithic enough to her genre as we know it: how we listen to pop music, how pop music is created, and how we obsess over pop culture.

Well done, Gaga.

1 comment:

  1. Love this ! Love 80s fashion ! Read our take on it: http://fashionableearth.org/blog/2009/10/21/eighties-uber-alles/