Dressing for Lady Gaga

I found myself in Amsterdam with a ticket for the Ziggo Drome to see Lady Gaga on her Joanne tour. Believe me, I was as surprised as you are. No need to go into the details, but there was a seat waiting and a lady who must not be stood up.

Zebra-printed terror
What exactly does one wear to a Lady Gaga concert? The natural impulse is to reach for a dinner suit, but it didn't say 'black tie' on the ticket. Terrifying images of zebra print shirts, sleeveless hoodies, bandannas and tight faux-leather trousers swirled around in my imagination. I took a cold wash, and then it struck me — Cordings! What can be more rock n' roll than English country clothing? (Just ask Max Normal — Man of the Present.)

Cordings supplies clothes that are smart and hard wearing should things get rambunctious.

Ease of movement
The Cordings white with blue check Brushed Oxford shirt is soft and has a generous cut for ease of movement. The unfused collar is just our kind of size. I'm not a fan of small collars, and I assumed Gaga wouldn't be.

Respect the performer
Certainly, out of respect for the performer, a tie was an absolute necessary. Standards, old boy. I thought Lady Gaga might appreciate the subtle subversiveness of the Pink Hunting Fox tie I wore with the shirt. The motif shows the fox becoming the hunter, riding crop in hand, looking something akin to a gentleman thug. The tie is made from 'a weighty, crunchy silk woven in Suffolk'.

The Firley tweed
At the trouser end, Cordings' Firley in green herringbone tweed with English pleats seemed the obvious pick. Cordings say the trousers are 'a perfect choice for country and even city pursuits', which must include pop concerts in Dutch stadiums. I believe the Firley is one of Cordings' best tweeds. Cordings certainly thinks the suit combinations in Firley offer one of the best off-the-peg options out there.

I wore this kit with my old navy moleskin jacket. The jacket photographs terribly, as the material absorbs all the light, but I think it worked decently enough.

The concert itself
As I made my way to the stadium from Centraal Station tube station on the M54 line, I admit to curiosity over the art-pop touches Lady Gaga might bring to a live experience. It's also rather fascinating the way she controversially plays with her image, with the kind of self-expressiveness found in kindred spirits Isabella Blow and the Honourable Daphne Diana Joan Susanna Guinness. Gaga manages to sneak the avant-garde into the mainstream in a Bowie-like way. In fact, she has stated that her whole career is a tribute to Bowie. Who doesn't like Bowie tribute acts?

The Ziggo Dome is a nicely-sized stadium and well organised. It was good to see a dedicated cocktail bar inside, with a decent but limited choice of cocktails. I enjoyed a couple of looseners there before finding my seat at the back of the arena.

The concert began absolutely on time against a digital countdown. Remarkably efficient. Lady Gaga appeared dramatically, as you might imagine, on a raised platform. The crowd was perfectly rapt.
Missed note?
After performing several songs from the main stage, pontoon bridges descended from the ceiling to connect a series of podiums. Gaga started to walk over to the back of the stadium. Everyone stood up around me and started to flail. I stood up, but drew the line at flailing — looking something like a stick in a barrel of worms. Not knowing what to do with my arms, I was glad of the ample trouser pockets in my Cordings trousers.
Admiring the pleats?
Lady Gaga advanced to a podium just in front of us accompanied by her troupe of dancers who were dressed like Lucien Freud's muse, Leigh Bowery, the London nightlife habitué. It was quite the spectacle and evidence of the avant-garde touches we sought. Lady Gaga and I were close enough to lock eyes for a disconcertingly long moment. As she played an intimate set at the piano under my nose, did I notice a missed note as she admired the only tie in the stadium or those impeccable trouser pleats?
High-voltage cabaret
My notes tell me that I detected elements of Weimar cabaret in the song and dance performances — but at a higher voltage — which reminded me of the likes of Anita Berber and, more recently, Ute Lemper. In fact, having seen Ute Lemper on several occasions, I could see they share a similar audience. Gaga has a healthy dose of eccentricity of spirit and a mischievous sense of humour too — like our own dear Edith Sitwell. I look forward to her Berlin period.

Of note also was the spectacular sound and vision of the concert. London's Lobster Eye produced the striking videos beamed onto a huge cinema screen between costume changes. Evidently, they wear their lobsters on their sleeves, as one is clearly reminded of Dali and Buñuel.


  1. Sir.. you really are spoiling us.. When I glimpsed your attire I almost popped.. Simply stunning!!

    1. Thanks Graham. Good to hear from you. Keep fighting the good fight. Tweedy.


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