Applause: Frame by Frame

Naturally, my world stopped at around 3 p.m. today because Lady Gaga premiered her first video after a two year long break - Applause. Along with the likes of Britney and Rihanna, Gaga's videos are painfully original and stunning mini-masterpieces I can watch over and over again, regardless whether I'm equally obsessed with the song (which I usually am), so you can understand my excitement...

...and as per usual, miss Gaga didn't dissapoint.

Lady Gaga is definitely known for her collaborations with the biggest names in art and photography (for example, the video for Alejandro was directed by famed photographer Steven Klein), so everyone who was even a little immersed in her previous work could have guessed that the director of Applause was going to be huge.
This time around, Lady Gaga chose the photography duo Inez & Vinoodh (she has previously worked with them on numerous shoots) for a very eclectic music video.

The inspirations span from Botticelli to Victoria's Secret angels, to the work of John Galliano.
Due to the (delightful) complexity of the video, I've decided to break it down for you frame by frame.

 Vogue Italia, Like a Movie
Photographed by Miles Aldridge
Model: Elisa Sednaoui

 Iris van Herpen Couture Fall 2012

 Alexander McQueen Spring 2013

When I first saw this part of the video, I immediately thought Tim Burton. Being trapped in a birdcage might be a metaphor for the lack of artistic freedom Gaga is so often complaining about. The skeleton elements are nothing new for this controversial songstress, for she wore them as a performance piece a few years back.

 Mira Fujita

 David Bowie

This pierrot part of the video was to be expected, considering it's the single cover, as well as Gaga's go-to make-up for her latest appearences. For closer inspection, check out this previous post.

Maria Callas

This is actually a look we see Gaga most in during the video. It consists of a simple, black all-in-one with barely there make-up, which is definitely quite a turn from what we'd expect from her. With her true beauty on display, it reminded me of portraits of great women, such as Maria Kallas. Simplicity looks good on Gaga, that's for sure.

 Victoria's Secret

You see a look like this and your mind is bound to go to only one place - the Victoria's Secret runway. Gaga's wings are pretty bare, though. No feathers, no sparkles, no frou frou. Perhaps she was channeling a fallen angel that's been through an ordeal, but an angel nonetheless.


 Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere

Gaga as a magician's trick popping out of a hat...why not? What I was more intrigued by was the intricate ensemble she had on. The crazy and futuristic bouclé put Chanel on my brain instantly, whereas the 3D texture and the plastic look of the fabric took me back to Ghesquiere's heyday at Balenciaga.

 Sandro Botticelli: The Birth of Venus

The Little Mermaid

Figuring out this bit of inspiration was a piece of cake since Gaga herself tweeted a still from the video with the tag #BotticelliBabe. A less high-brow thing I spotted? The Little Mermaid.

 Comme des Garçons Fall 2007 

Okay, so maybe this isn't the cleverest bit of inspiration, but I kind of think it works. BTW, these two should definitely collaborate in the near future.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan
Dress by Rodarte

Lady Gaga's head on a body of a black swan will most probably be the most shocking part of this video for most. This sequence should come as no surprise for all those who can recall that this Lady spent a full 24 hours inside a Hussein Chalayan designed "vessel". An imperfectly perfect creature has hatched. I'm sure Darren Aronofsky would be proud if he saw this.

 John Galliano, Fall 2009

This is my favorite part of the video...partly because it's Gaga at her best and partly because this is probably my favorite collection John Galliano ever did for his namesake brand. I'm not completely sure that this is the dress Gaga's wearing in the video (one of her stylists will probably post a detailed fashion play-by-play for the video), but the inspiration is apparent. How amazing would it be if Lady Gaga and Galliano were working on a comeback together? A fashion wet dream if I ever had one.

She lives for the applause and she sure as hell deserves one.

  • Lingerie - Valentino Couture
  • Boots - Alaia
  • Parachute dress - Gareth Pugh
  • 3D jacket - Maison Martin Margiela Couture
  • Glove bra - Jean-Charles de Castelbajac
  • Wings - Junker Designs
  • Silver gown - John Galliano (yay!)


  1. The wings reminds me more of Tinkerbell, who needs applause to live.

    The green ensemble is Margiela Artisanal Couture, and the hands bra were designed by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

    1. You're so right on the Tinkerbell front. Kudos!

      And thanks so much on the designer tips. I owe you one!