When it comes to wearing outfits straight off the runway, a certain amount of editing is to be expected, for the sake of blending in with the rest of society. You probably won't pair a puppy with your Tod's coat, for example, nor bedazzled brows with head-to-toe Chanel. Lady Gaga, however, took this act of sartorial interpretation in the opposite direction, opting to wear a fairly straightforward cape—and drag it behind her, and pass it off to the people around her, and carry it out in front of her—in seemingly every way she could except its traditional, runway-styled way.

The cape in question was a black and brown feathered number that made its debut in Ralph Lauren's Fall 2012 ready-to-wear collection at New York Fashion Week. At the time, model Maryna Linchuk swanned down the catwalk in a dramatic, floor-length black evening gown, accessorizing with only a pair of simple black drop earrings and the cape, which she wore draped over both shoulders, as is typical with capes, capelets, and, indeed, the entire extended cloak family.

Ralph Lauren Fall 2012 RTW - feathered shawl

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Gaga, it seems, had an entirely different vision for the fluffy accessory. While walking the red carpet at the National Board of Review Awards Gala in New York City on Tuesday night in a gorgeous black Ralph Lauren tuxedo dress, the pop star alternated between tossing the cape over her left shoulder (as seen in the photo at the top of this page), much the way one would while struggling to carry a particularly heavy handbag, though not when wearing a cape on a red carpet; and dragging it down behind her, also handbag-style, and also decidedly not cape-style.

Lady Gaga in Ralph Lauren embed1

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Once inside the gala, while accepting the award for best actress for her role in A Star Is Born, Gaga continued to defy all orthodox cape-wearing behavior. After carrying the feathered shawl so that it trailed somewhere by her left knee on her way to the stage, she had her hands full with her prepared speech and glass trophy. Rather than giving in to society's expectations and simply throwing the cape over her shoulders to free up some hand space, she temporarily bequeathed it to presenter Stephen Colbert, who, one can assume, spent the entirety of Gaga's emotional speech desperately trying to figure out if he was holding a purse, a boa, or some kind of docile pet in his hands.

Lady Gaga and Stephen Colbert

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To cap off the statement-making night, Gaga was photographed leaving the venue with the cape styled in one last improbable way: She passed it off from her left to her right hand, then simply held it up and slightly in front of her shoulder in a way that was definitely less awkward and more comfortable than just draping it over her shoulders, and despite its potential to offer at least some semblance of protection from the cold and rainy N.Y.C. night. It's called high fashun, sweetie—look it up.

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