Now that A Star Is Born is (mostly) in her past, Lady Gaga has returned to one of her favorite pastimes: casually going about her way while wearing almost literally jaw-dropping ensembles. Of course, that has something to do with the fact that, along with Serena Williams and Harry Styles, Gaga is hosting the 2019 Met Gala on Monday night, which there’s been no shortage of hype for—as well as confusion over what this year’s theme, camp, actually means, particularly when it comes to fashion. So, with less than 24 hours to go, Gaga served up a crash course on Sunday night, in the form of an accessory no larger than her palm.
Gaga closed out her weekend by dutifully reporting to Anna Wintour’s home in New York City for a pre–Met Gala dinner, as did her cohosts, both of whom also turned it up a notch ahead of the big day. But the moment that Gaga arrived, effectively eclipsing both of their looks, Williams’s neon yellow crop top ensemble and Styles’s high-waisted pants suddenly seemed almost tediously ordinary. She wore a loofah-like tiered mini dress by Marc Jacobs—though, of course, there was much more to it than that. Her look came complete with blue eyeshadow, a towering and similarly loofah-like fascinator, a dark pair of sunglasses, and a pair of the sky-high platform heels that once upon a time were her signature footwear. (Please give the man who still managed to hold an umbrella over her head a raise.)
The real showstopper, though, was minuscule enough that one could have easily missed it, if Gaga hadn’t taken care to slip it on to her middle finger and daintily hold it in front of her as if it were a shield. At first glance, it appeared to be one of Jacquemus’s infamous micro bags, but that would have been too predictable for Gaga. Instead, it was a miniature couture bag by Delvaux, complete with teensy flower motifs painstakingly made of embroidered satin and handcrafted petals. There’s even a video of the fabrication process, if you want to see how complex it is up close.
In Gaga’s hands, it managed to pack even more of a punch. Her micro-bag also served as a master class in the meaning of camp, touching on no less than four of the tenets outlined by Susan Sontag in “Notes on ‘Camp,'” which served as the Met Gala planning committee’s guide book. “The hallmark of Camp is the spirit of extravagance”—check. “The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious”—check. “The essence of Camp is its love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration”—check. And, last but not least, one of camp’s more difficult concepts: “Camp sees everything in quotation marks,” which Gaga took extra care to cover by handing her real, regular-size bag—her beloved Celine one, of course—to her bodyguard the moment she stepped out onto the sidewalk.
Lady Gaga’s Style Evolution, From a Meat Dress to Custom Versace
A brunette Gaga performing at Lollapalooza, in a homemade disco bra.That DIY aesthetic was only a small taste of what was to come.
One of the earliest incarnations of the Lady Gaga persona: snood, sunglasses, David Bowie makeup, and platinum blonde hair.
Lady Gaga and her “hair bow” debut on Good Day New York in 2008. Most of her costumes at this time where largely handmade.
Lady Gaga at a Fashion Week event in 2008, complete with towering shoulder pads and signature snood.
Gaga at a concert event in Germany, wearing one of her crystal stalagmite encrusted dresses.
Sporting rainbow colored locks, leopard briefs, and thigh-high boots at a Tokyo airport.
Gaga on the VMAs red carpet, wearing the first of one of many VMA looks that will go down in fashion history.
Meeting the Queen of England in Edwardian-themed red latex gown and crystal encrusted eye makeup.
At the 52nd Grammy Awards wearing custom Armani Prive and a matching, hand-held sculpture.
Leaving her concert at the O2 Arena in Germany at the height of “Bad Romance” fever.
Wearing her infamous meat dress at the MTV Video Music Awards.
At the VMAs in an Alexander McQueen look, wearing the infamous Armadillo platform heels.
Leaving dinner in Paris dedecked in diamonds and blush pink silk.
Accepting the Grammy award for best pop vocal album wearing archive Mugler at the beginning of her “Born This Way” era.
A chic, fully monochromatic look (“teal blonde” hair included) at Narita Airport in Tokyo.
At the CFDA awards sporting a teal bob. She won the Fashion Icon Award that evening.
A radiant brunette Lady Gaga at Harrods for the launch of her fragrance, Fame.
Lady Gaga wearing archive Versace with the designer in Milan.
Fairytale princess Gaga in an Alexander McQueen gown.
Channeling a rave-disco incarnation of Botticelli’s Venus at the VMAs.
Lady “Godiva” Gaga arriving on the American Music Awards red carpet atop a mechanical horse and wearing Atelier Versace.
At an event in Japan in promotion of her album Artpop.
A street style moment in London complete with “Botticelli babe” waves and prismatic eyeglasses.
Sporting ultra long white-blond locks and a pink fur coat leaving her apartment in New York.
Wearing a lavender Atelier Versace gown at the 86th Annual Academy Awards.
Wearing a star-spangled, custom white Valentino gown with diamante eyebrows to match at the Kennedy Center Honors.
Entering the era of polished, elegant, and jazz Gaga for her collaboration album with Tony Bennett.
Wearing a custom, glittering Azzedine Alaia gown to the 87th Annual Academy Awards.
Lady Gaga at the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame induction, channeling John Lennon by way of Alexander Wang.
Full Bowie-glam in a custom Marc Jacobs look for the 58th Grammy Awards, where Gaga performed a tribute to the late performer.