At last night’s 2016 Grammy Awards, one planned performance stole the show: Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie. The pairing was a natural one, given how Gaga mirrors Bowie’s success as an avant-garde, shape-shifting beauty icon who also happens to be an incredibly talented musician.
The songstress first splashed onto the music scene in 2009 with fantastic dance tracks, an icy platinum mane, and Ziggy Stardust–inspired lightning bolts and stars strategically placed on her face—not unlike the digitally morphing makeup she had painted onto her face to pay homage to Bowie last night. Later that year, she accepted an award at the 2009 VMAs decked in a cherry red lace veil that matched her crown, dress, and visible panties. The following year at the Grammys, Gaga rocked Bowie-esque glitter-coated pink triangles around each eye, and after a wardrobe change, a massive silver geometric headpiece. 2011 brought a few Madonna moments, our favorite being a set of extra-short bangs paired with a thick side ponytail, extreme cat-eyes, and a set of oversize black shades—worn inside, naturally. And Philip Treacy’s theatrical hats have made repeat appearances in Gaga’s appearances over the years, as have bold brows, red lips, and various shades of hair.
Just as Bowie’s extreme transformations eventually mellowed out over time, so, too, have Gaga’s. These days, she has settled into her status as a Tony Bennett–loving pop star, frequently sporting a pairing of blonde waves and liquid liner that evokes vintage Barbra Streisand. Still, it was refreshing to see her Bowie-centric performance last night accompanied by the over-the-top style of years past. Here, a look back at some of Gaga’s most outrageous hair and makeup moments.
André Leon Talley talks to Lady Gaga and Alexander Wang at the 2015 Met Gala:
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