Human Behavior Expert and Celebrity Life Coach Patrick Wanis, PhD, answers a reporter’s in-depth questions about Lady Gaga, Madonna and the social and artistic impact each one has had. This is part 2: How famous artists like Lady Gaga got their look (Click here for Part 1 – Can Lady Gaga dethrone Madonna as the Queen of Pop – https://patrickwanis.com/blog/lady-gaga-dethrone-madonna-queen-pop/)
Patrick: The average person thinks that Lady Gaga is completely original. “Oh, she’s so original and she does what she wants and she has her own style.” And that’s not true, because only people that understand the music industry know how someone like Lady Gaga even occurred, how she happened.
In the music industry many artists are given a look – will often come across a stylist; and a stylist, if you have enough money, you might start by spending $2,000 or $5,000 or $10,000 for one stylist to come to you and design a look for you, “This is the way you should dress. This is what you should wear.” An unsigned artist will spend her own money but an artist signed to a record label will be supplied with a stylist; it’s part of the packaging of an artist – the marketing, advertising and branding.
If you look in the beginning of Lady Gaga’s early years, she often had one eye covered. That was not created by her. That was created by a stylist. So a lot of her original look, her first look, her first style, her first fashion was created by a stylist. So a stylist came along and said, ‘You should cover one eye. You should have your hair like this. You should always wear these stockings and you should wear high heels…’ She was doing a lot of that in the beginning.
Then when an artist makes enough money, then the record label or even the artists is going to spend more money with other stylists to make bigger and more extravagant and more lavish costumes. So if Lady Gaga didn’t have her success, she wouldn’t be able to afford all the costumes that she is wearing now because those costumes are tens of thousands of dollars. So it’s not about her being original. It’s about her having the money to be able to afford it to pay for it. Does that make sense?
Natalia: Yes. Yes, of course.
Patrick: Look at the difference between the way that Madonna made her costumes when she did the costumes with the cone breasts, that was very shocking and it was quite a statement. Well, Lady Gaga has always been trying to get attention. So she does things that are not even necessarily intelligent or meaningful, and they don’t have a message.
For example, she put on the costume that was made of raw meat; and when Ellen DeGeneres interviewed her on her show, Ellen said, “Well, what’s the meaning of this? Why?” Gaga told Ellen DeGeneres on her show that it was connected to her protests against the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy toward gay soldiers.
Lady Gaga said: “As you know, I am the most judgement-free human being on the earth. However, it has many interpretations. For me this evening, if we don’t stand up for what we believe in and if we don’t fight for our rights pretty soon, we’re going to have as much rights as the meat on our bones. And, I am not a piece of meat.”
And note, she didn’t create or design the real beef dress – it was created by Franc Fernandez. Nonetheless, I would argue that if you want people to see you as more than meat, why would you present yourself as being clad in meat; it is similar to someone dressing up as clown and saying I am much more than a clown but the clown is offering nothing, no evidence to convince us that he is anything more than a clown. Or it would be akin to a woman dressing up as a Barbie doll and then saying “I am not a Barbie Doll and I don’t want people to see me as a Barbie doll.” In other words, Lady Gaga’s stunt could be summed up as pseudo-intellectual – quite shallow and trite in its message.
So I don’t even know if that was her real reason or if she just had to think of something because someone actually asked her. So again, I’m saying that one has to question the sincerity and the motivations of her style.
Moreover, I could also argue that her meat dress was nothing special and definitely not original – and definitely not the fashion statement of the year 2010 as claimed by Time magazine. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio had already done the dress made out of meat in 2006 for a beauty pageant, and it was arguably more thoughtful, beautiful and stylized than the one that Gaga had on. And their meat dress had a meaning because it was designed for The Miss Meat Market Crown for designers from the Meatpacking District in NY which is now a trendy area of the NYC. (Diller Scofidio + Renfro is a New York City-based interdisciplinary design studio that integrates architecture, the visual arts, and the performing arts.) https://www.thehighline.org/news/2005/10/20/fhl-co-founders-face-off-in-miss-meat-market-gown-contest-at-florent-high-line-ball-1
Natalia: And do you think that like the iconic styles that Madonna imposed at some point or another during her career for example, the cone bra for example, the virginal look during “Like a Virgin” for example, the whole latex and bondage in Erotica I think it was, what do you think she was trying to convey? What was her message? Was it intelligent? Was she actually trying to communicate a message of social change or such? Or was it just like Lady Gaga; she was just trying to shock?
Patrick: No. I think that in that era for Madonna, she actually had a message and she herself was exploring her own persona, herself, and she was exploring and experimenting with different elements of herself. So the cone bra, the latex, the Erotica was motivated by her learning more about herself and her expressing herself.
The other thing that’s significant about Madonna is that she was evolving. Lady Gaga has not evolved. She came out one way and she has only been that way for the past three or four years or however long she has been around, maybe five years. She hasn’t really changed.
Madonna evolved and that’s the difference. That’s why Madonna became a queen because people grew up with her, and she evolved as a woman, whereas Lady Gaga came out as a big theatrical event, a big theatrical costume, but she hasn’t evolved. I mean she is not evolving a message. It’s not growing. It’s all the time shock, shock, shock, loud, sexual. So she’s not clear. She’s not clear in her message. Madonna has multiple messages. Today though, Madonna is desperately trying to shock.
Click here for Part 3 of the interview – Can Lady Gaga remain relevant the way Madonna has? https://patrickwanis.com/blog/lady-gaga-remain-relevant-madonna-has/
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.