Lady Gaga – It’s a way to use the red carpet and fashion to send us an important message.
The question of what the red carpet would become, that strange celebrity-style get-up that reached its peak in the early 21st century as a marketing / social media/fashion Frankenstein monster, would become in a Covid-19 world – could it even exist. When most people have given up on the party dress altogether – it was finally answered Sunday night at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards. And it was responded by the Mother Monster, Lady Gaga.
Held live in New York City, socially distant but with no audience, the V.M.As were the last of the summer awards shows and the first to attempt a semblance of old-time pizazz, rather than Zooming-from-your-living-room relatability. Keke Palmer hosted and recognized the day’s tragedies — the death of Chadwick Boseman, the filming of Jacob Blake – and engaged in modeling with multiple dresses.
Keke Palmer spoke about actor Chadwick Boseman on the MTV Awards show.
Not everyone wanted to come in. Taylor Swift received her award from a distance. The same was true for BTS, although the group performed in a pre-recorded segment in very stylish suits and ties. There was a space where guests and performers could pose alone for arrival photos to show off their outfits, but they didn’t quite reach the usual critical mass: Sofia Carson, in red Giambattista Valli with a gigantic peplum pouf; Joey King in a short rose print Versace; Machine gun Kelly in bright pink Berluti.
It was nice to watch them put in the effort and to experience a bit of an alternate dress-up party, even without the crowds and paparazzi present. Something also seemed to be missing, like a hot air balloon slowly deflating. (Why are those people all nervous and standing there alone?)
But then Lady Gaga arrived. She blew it all alone again.
She received her many awards and performed and blew up the stage. She changed her clothes every time she appeared, appearing seven times. And almost every time he appeared in his seven different outfits, he wore a different fabulous face mask.
In the process, she used her image to make fashion masks and designers what used to be done for Dior and Chanel, for example.
First came his circular silver area coat, complete with a clear Conrad face shield/astronaut helmet referred to the V.M.A. Moonman himself. To accept her Artist of the Year award, she donned an Iris Van Herpen bird of paradise dress with a swirling pink face mask by Cecilio Castrillo. For the year award song, a giant iridescent emerald green shirt dress by Christopher John Rogers and a matching jeweled Lance V. and fangs Moore’s mask. She looked like some super glamorous juggernaut.
And so on. In Gaga’s “Chromatica” performance, Gaga appeared in a pink and black bodysuit, Diego Montoya mask, and Smooth Technology. Finally, she wore a Valentino couture cloak with giant feathers and a silver bodysuit with a Maison Met silver mask. She also modeled for her latest change to a Candice Cuoco silver cape to receive the first-ever Tricon Award.
Her clothes were striking, but her masks were unforgettable, even at a party where Miley Cyrus laughed at her own story in a see-through Mugler dress, not to mention wearing a sequined tank top and panties atop a disco ball.
Gaga thanked everyone at the end and said, “I may look like a broken record, but wear a mask. It’s a sign of respect.”
Masktivism! However, that is a way of making sense of what had become a format that increasingly undermined its soul and original purpose (self-expression). As we move to other red carpet events — next up is the Venice Film Festival, which kicks off this week and where Cate Blanchett, as president of the jury, has vowed to wear only clothes from her closet – the level was lifted.