Lady Gaga's VMA Outfits: A Brief History

Lady Gaga at the 2009, 2010, and 2011 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Little Monsters, get your paws all. the way. UP. Lady Gaga is BACK! And we don’t mean that just in the sense that ARTPOP is on a speeding train to your ears very soon. Mother Monster is making her epic return to the VMAs, not just attending but performing. That’s right, folks. The premiere performance of Gaga’s first ARTPOP single is happening live at the 2013 VMAs (Sunday, August 25, 9 p.m. ET) on the Barclays Center stage. *head explodes into a mushroom cloud of glitter* Talk about huge news! As anyone who has ever watched an award show at which Gagaloo was in attendance can attest, Stefani does not mess around when it comes to event attire, and the MTV Video Music Awards are an extra special case. Gaga’s VMA fashion history isn’t very long, but in just a handful of years, she’s been responsible for some of the most iconic style moments of the past decade. In preparation for her 2013 return, we’re looking back at all of Lady Gaga’s VMA outfits. Ever.

2009: NECK BRACE BAROQUE

Lady Gaga at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Gaga’s first VMA experience was in 2009 (the last time the show was held in New York). Amidst the go-to sparkly mini dresses typical of stars at the time, she ruffled feathers (literally!) in a lace floor-length Jean Paul Gaultier gown worn with a gold House of Blue Eyes half-mask and a black, opulently feathered, intricately detailed Keko Hainswheeler neck brace situation.

2009: ’PAPARAZZI’ HAUS OF GAGA

Lady Gaga performs at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Also at her first VMAs, Lady Gaga hit the stage for her unforgettable “bleeding” performance of “Paparazzi.” Keeping with the medical equipment motif, she incorporated bedazzled wheelchairs and single crutches, but it was her white lacy Haus of Gaga bodysuit—or rather, that she started (fake) bleeding through it mid-performance—that made the outfit memorable.

2009: RED (MC)QUEEN

Lady Gaga at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Lady Gaga won the Moonman for Best New Artist in 2009, and instead of changing back into her black feathered number from before, she slinked into a new outfit: a long-sleeved red lace Alexander McQueen shift from *drumrolllll* 1998. She may have been fresh on the music scene in ’09, but her archival ensemble demonstrated that even in those early days, Gagaloo’s taste (and historical knowledge) was that of an old pro. Oh, and BTW, Haus of Gaga made that terrifying crown to go with it.

2009: GAGA GAULTIER

Lady Gaga at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Back in the press room, the Gags changed into yet another outfit. (That’s four so far, if you’re counting.) This time, her ensemble of choice was more clubby futurism, more like her breakout ensembles from the music videos for The Fame’s first singles: a lavender bubble-ribbed Gaultier bodysuit worn with glittery black heeled boots with scrunched uppers.

2009: FEATHERED FACE WREATH

Lady Gaga casino online at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Picture Group

Back at her seat, the fashion monster changed YET AGAIN. She watched the parts of the show she wasn’t actually in wearing another Gaultier look (this one a white sequined dress with a floor-length illusion skirt) and this feathered face wreath by Philip Treacy. As we know now, the milliner and pop star later become great friends.

2009: BRIDE OF MICKEY

Lady Gaga at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Technically, Gaga wears this look for the after party, but we’re including it anyway. She keeps the Gaultier dress from her seat and the boots from the press room, but swaps out her headgear in favor of this Alex Noble creation we’re dubbing “Bride of Mickey” chic. This puts her at a total of six different looks at the 2009 VMAs.

2010: MOHAWK MCQUEEN

Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Lady Gaga arrived at the 2010 VMAs in a gorgeous, voluminous gown printed with Byzantine-style art across the entire dress. Paired with her gray-to-cerulean ombre hair and that gold feathered mohawk (P.S. this “chaos to couture” is what we should have seen more of at the 2013 Met Gala), Gaga was breath-taking, but more than that, the McQueen ensemble was a moving tribute to the designer (her friend) who had away earlier that year.

2010: LEATHER LADY

Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Accepting her award for Best Pop Music Video, Gaga wore another punky high fashion look: this princess silhouette black leather gown custom-made for her by Giorgio Armani. Also, that black spiked mohawk headpiece? Incredible.

2010: THE MEAT DRESS

Lady Gaga at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

And then there was The Meat Dress. Arguably Gaga’s most iconic look EVER (I mean, it’s been rendered a Simpson, guys—it’s legendary), the fleshy ensemble was the handiwork of artist Franc Fernandez and Nicola Formichetti and though constructed of perishable flanks of “matambre,” will live forever in pop culture infamy.

2011: JO CALDERONE

Lady Gaga/Jo Calderone at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards
Photo: Getty Images

Finally, there’s Jo Calderone. Lady Gaga only wore one outfit for the 2011 VMAs, but BOY (hehe), did she make it count. She opened the show with her Born This Way single “You and I” in just a white t-shirt and black men’s suit as her male alter ego Jo Calderone. She (he?) stayed in character all night (even through Beyonce’s baby bump reveal), and set Twitter ablaze with comparisons to Ralph Macchio circa The Karate Kid.

2013: ???

ARTPOP is on its way, but with Gaga having remained squarely out of the public eye for months, making only a few appearances (most of them scantily clad), it’s hard to tell what she might have in store for this year’s VMAs. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

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