Saturday, 28 August 2010

All dressed up and no place to go

Think quickly people - with only eight weeks to go, you need to start figuring out that all-important Hallowe'en costume. Two years ago, Sarah Palin was all the rage. So thousands of women, and probably even more men, threw on a smart tailored suit, a big brown wig and some sensible-looking glasses in order to terrorise their friends and neighbours.

It's no good looking to horror movies for inspiration. The slashers of yesteryear are long gone, replaced by movies that revel in low-fi camcorder hauntings or slow, grisly and un-anaesthetised limb removal. Not much to go on there, unless you fancy going to a party looking like partly-ground beef.

Thankfully, help is at hand, courtesy of everyone's favourite pop icon. With enough time for everyone to get their orders in, the officially licensed range of 'Haus of Gaga' outfits has been released to the general public.

OK, so there's going to be a bunch of very pissed off drag queens who've spent the last few months hunched over a sewing machine trying desperately to recreate Gaga's influential look. However, everyone else will no doubt delight in the fact that they can go to a Hallowe'en party looking like they just collided with a ceiling fan.

There are some pretty cool accessories too, including the beer-can wig from 'Telephone' and the cut-away 'Poker Face' swimsuit. Sadly though, there's no sign of Gaga's now-infamous Kermit outfit, or the sunglasses made out of cigarettes. The amphibians are safe, for now.

Nonetheless, Gaga's 'Little Monsters' will be thrilled to be able to emulate some of the most iconic outfits since Marilyn Monroe felt a sudden breeze up her gusset. I say 'some' because of course Gaga isn't the first blonde superstar to inspire legions of dedicated followers with her outlandish fashions.

Back before Gaga was a twinkle in Mr Germanotta's eye, Dolly Parton was inviting the world to take a look inside her not inconsiderable closet. Appearing on The Mike Douglass Show in 1977, the gravity-bothering country bombshell showcased some of her favourite outfits in an extraordinary fashion show.

Although Dolly has always had a quick wit and a natural ability to perform, she seems a little sad in this footage. And not because she's being forced to stand and pose in an empty TV studio, wearing some of the ugliest garments ever captured on video-tape. One ensemble, which she claims she would wear to the recording studio, involves a bulky overcoat and a platinum hairpiece, making her look like a flasher hiding behind a wedding cake.

At the time she was desperately unhappy with her weight, and seemed to think that the easiest way to distract people from her bulges was to wear wigs so grand that Elton could have borrowed one for his Louis XIV-themed 50th birthday. She's still wearing wigs today, although, like Gaga, she's at least had the good sense to turn this into merchandisable business stream.

Gaga's critics are always quick to point out that she's borrowed much of Madonna's schtick - from the overt sexuality to the continual image re-invention. But it's worth remembering that Madge wasn't the first to show her Blonde Ambition, and hopefully our Lady won't be the last.

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