There once was a famous pop singer who performed her hit single at the Video Music Awards, baring her belly in a green bra-like top and emerging from a vine-entangled cage. Her seductive dancing and risque costume was no surprise, until she added a live yellow python snake around her neck as if it were a feather boa.
A few years later, this very same pop star performed with another music icon, this time in a slinky take on a wedding dress hiked up past her thighs. In case this wasn’t enough to give off a “sexual” vibe, the starlet capered around in patent leather boots with spikes that would make even a model run away crying.
If Britney Spears has come to mind by now as this famous pop star, you must understand how important she has been to the music industry with her songs, lyrics and performances. More importantly, you understand how the presentation of her outfits on stage has been a deal-breaker for her shows and also a stepping stone for the new wave of artists shocking audiences at the VMAs in the past years. Spears has always combined fashion and music to make a statement, and artists such as Lady Gaga and Pink have followed suit.
It’s safe to say that the days of performing in a ball-gown next to a piano or wearing beat-up Converse sneakers and old T-shirts (thank you, Kurt Cobain) while playing an acoustic guitar are over. These days, if a performance isn’t flashy it probably isn’t entertaining. I’m all for the unconventional fashion that musicians such as Lady Gaga project when they claim the stage-I believe it gets the point of their music across.
The 2009 VMAs were a serious breeding ground for fashion twists and trends from the most popular performers. Lady Gaga’s fast-paced career has become even more buzzed about after her performance of the new single, “Paparazzi.” Her loyalty to underwear was evident, as she wore barely there white undergarments matched with a lacy white sequined top. Fans weren’t startled by the outrageous get-up until she added even more outrageous accessories halfway through her song: blood splattered on her lace top leading up to the talented singer hanging from a noose at the song’s end. After letting my jaw hang open for a few seconds, I came to the conclusion that Lady Gaga was simply acting out her song. I suppose she was trying to convey a love-struck girl violently obsessed with a sought-after male, and her fashion statement helped her to do that. Lady Gaga justifies my belief that fashion is an art that further complements the art in music.
It’s a good thing that Lady Gaga had the talent to back up her somewhat sadistic performance, or else she would have simply come off as a crazed musician willing to do anything to cause a stir. The same thing goes for Pink, the rebellious pop star who made her mark in the industry long before Lady Gaga coined the phrase “disco stick.” Personally, I never know what to expect next from the self-proclaimed rock star.
Performing her single “Sober,” Pink’s set was themed around a circus. Besides amazing the audience with her trapeze skills, reassuring us that she’s “safe, up high” (as her lyrics go), her costume was a spectacle in itself. A little iridescence or sparkle apparently never hurt anyone, especially when slapped onto a skin-tight one piece suit in a purple and argyle-patterned ensemble. I can’t forget to mention the heart-shaped “pasty” that covered only the bare necessities of the upper half of her body, a la Lil’ Kim at the 1999 VMAs.
As wild as her fashion declaration was paired with an equally daring performance, I applaud artists such as Pink for being creative in these ways. Something tells me that “Paparazzi” wouldn’t have been as enjoyable if Lady Gaga had eliminated her almost unheard of fashion sense and individual talent for performing. I believe fashion and clever ideas for performances go hand-in-hand to make a show more appealing to viewers. The art that draws the viewer to the stage is a mixture of dance moves, acting, and wardrobe.
Pink and Lady Gaga alike are musicians that went all out at this year’s VMAs, reminding MTV fans of the performers, such as Britney Spears, that started it all a few years back. Python snakes, trapeze artists, one piece suits and sequined tops, and underwear are just a few representatives of the lengths performers are willing to go to make a performance unforgettable. Although Lady Gaga’s use of “blood” on her ensemble is a little more debatable than a pair of tight underwear, no one can argue that it was a unique addition to her show. She wouldn’t be the artist people want to listen to on their iPods or the Page Six celebrity with the outfits people want to read about without it. The only question I have now is: What could possibly top that?