Were you there the night Lady Gaga blew up the internet?
When the chanteuse’s Natural Born Killers-esque “Telephone” music video premiered on March 11, entire pockets of the normally chattery internet stopped, waited with bated breath (as the ten-minute film loaded), and rejoiced with a harmonious Ga-ga-oh-la-la! as Gaga and her Bee piloted their P*ssy Wagon from the swarthy roads of estrogen-charged gangsterhood straight into the telephone-shaped holes left in everyone’s hearts since Gaga announced she was making the video.
“Telephone” has received well over 20 million hits in less than eight days, and chronicles the merry murderesses as they shimmy their star-spangled Americana bootays on top of poisoned corpses and make out with surly dykes in the slammer.
The video has been declared a Tarantino pastiche by some (ladies with a vengeance + P*ssy Wagon + Beyoncé’s Death Proof ‘do? Definite Tarantino tribute) and unintelligible phantasmagoria of smoldering cigarette sunglasses, random diner deaths, and Lady Gaga’s mini Gaga—if you catch my drift—by others.
I myself enjoyed the libertine spirit and picked up one key stylistic feature about the vid.
Despite being heralded as the prophet of a new age in performance art and fashion, Gaga actually models her image quite frequently after another bottle blond who cemented similar galactic domination via shock, scandal, and sexual, er, leniency.
The Material Girl is referenced not only by Gaga’s hirsute ‘80s brows, inky black winged liner, and tough-as-nails burgundy lips, but also by her Marilyn ‘do.
The shot of Gaga dancing in leather-studded negligee around her jail cell sees her looking like a criminal version of Madonna circa her Blonde Ambition Tour.
And that’s not all. Gaga carries this Madonna semblance throughout the video, from her phone call scene with Coke cans curled into her hair—a hobo redux of the Marilyn ‘do—to the diner where she mixes poison for the customers, wearing heavy midnight blue smoky eyes paired with rousing pink lips à la Like A Virgin.
The similarities are there, but Lady Gaga breaks free of the seasoned tastemaker’s legacy by adding her distinctive vision. Gaga’s telephone hat, broad-shouldered black and white-striped jail frock, and leopard bodysuit are all her own.
In the end, that’s what the film is all about—breaking free.
A metaphor for imprisoned identity, the prison presents the social factors that dictate who we are, and in Lady Gaga’s case they entrap her in someone else’s idea of normality (she's literally in chains and the cigarette shades bar her vision).
Her escape from the penitentiary is a calculated move to set herself apart from Madonna, other artists, and the mold our culture wishes she conform to, spotlighting her as an inimitable, bird’s-nest wearing muse-du-monde.
How to Get Lady Gaga’s Dada Looks From “Telephone”
That being said, consider my disclaimer before you read on:
There's a fine line between rocker-chic and looking like a two dollar streetwalker who accidentally got caught up in a fight with a live recycling bin on the way to the party.
Lady Gaga’s Coke can curls and fierce one-step-below-clown makeup walk that line very delicately, so be warned that the look very easily falls into the category of things that are not easy on the eyes in broad daylight (just think of resident sulker—and sucker—Edward Cullen and his beauteousness so bright you want to tear your eyes out. You don’t want to blind innocent civilians, do you?).
Save these ensembles for a night out or for a Boy George theme party. But if you wish to get the Gaga chutzpah now, focus on one feature and tone down the rest (this is the golden rule for wearing bold makeup).
Alas, for ye that dare venture forward from the point of no return, the following is a video roundup of YouTube makeup and hair tutorials that’ll take you from tasteful to tsk-tsk in the blink of a rhinestone-studded eye.
I think we all have a bad romance with Gaga and her getups, so just give in already and embrace the high brow transgressiveness.
Look 1: Madonna Fallen on Hard Times (Hair & Makeup from the Phone Call Scene)
Look 2: Americana Dance Number (Makeup)
Look 3: Diner Lady Whom You Don't Want to Upset from the "Let's Make a Sandwich"Sequence (Makeup)
Linda appreciates the fact that Lady Gaga comes from the theater and considers herself a performer first and singer second. Though she makes herself up like a broken cabaret dancer, she knows what appeals to the youth organically (Linda's thinking about Tarantino's P*ssy Wagon here) and gets under your skin. If any of you L.A. ladies haven't watched "Telephone" yet, click here and you'll see what she's talking about.