Lady Gaga – style icon or just style eccentric? Mary Cody weighs up the evidence

Inspiration can come in many shapes and forms. When you consider some contemporary style icons, Alexa Chung, John Hamm and Lady Gaga may come to mind. Whilst Chung can make every woman crave a Mulberry handbag and Hamm encourages any man to suit up, Lady Gaga does not contribute to fashion in the same way, unless steak-serving suggestions are what you’re after. Gaga takes fashion somewhere else – somewhere eccentric and often insane, inaccessible to the average woman.

Whilst the art of fashion plays an integral role in Lady Gaga’s performance, she is not, in a sense, a style icon nor does she strive to be. Gaga utilises fashion and her image to create modern works of art. This is why she has become synonymous with haute-couture design; designers see her as a kindred spirit. Gaga uses her unique style to tell a story or champion a cause but she does not inspire trends in the average woman, the way other icons do. Whilst most admire the free nature and outlandish style Gaga possesses, few would strive to recreate her looks.

One also has to question just how original her style is as similarities have been made between Gaga and those who have gone before her. Most recently, comparisons between Gaga and Madonna have surfaced since she sported the cone-shaped bra and although Madonna was often compared to others, she offered more as a style icon. Hoards of woman bleached their hair and sported leather and lace to emulate her look. Lady Gaga does not have the same effect and it is unlikely that many will follow some of the more flamboyant outfits that she’s sported in her career.

People within the industry too have questioned Lady Gaga’s contribution to the world of fashion. One of the most eccentric icons, Grace Jones, reportedly cited the star as unoriginal in 2009. Jones turned down the opportunity to work with the singer after accusing her of blatantly stealing her style.

Lady Gaga has utilised her creativity and eccentricity to create an outlandish persona with huge success. But often people are too quick to diagnose fashion they don’t understand as fashion forward. They hear of Gaga’s connections with Alexander McQueen for example, and believe she is a style icon in the making. However, people need to reassess what a style icon is, and then perhaps re-evaluate Lady Gaga as an artist before taking fashion into consideration.