Why Lady Gaga Is More Powerful than Anna Wintour

Fact: in a matter of weeks Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” music video has been seen over 30 million times on Youtube; according to its publicly visible advertising info, Vogue, on the other hand, distributes an average of 1.2 million magazines each month. While viewers from around the world have found themselves singing “Rah rah ah-ah-ah!” along to Gaga, in much of the world Vogue is in fact harder to access (and significantly more expensive) than Lady Gaga’s latest single. But, finances aside, the Business of Fashion has posted an extremely interesting piece that looks at Lady Gaga’s role as not only a new business model for the music industry, but for fashion as well — one that could very well prove more potent than anything executives at Conde Nast have drummed up:

On his blog, Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti, who is also the Creative Director of Dazed & Confused and Fashion Director of Vogue Hommes Japan, has credited the outfits worn by Ms. Gaga in every shot of the “Bad Romance” video, in the same way that one might see editorial credits in fashion magazines. Given the original Alexander McQueen connection, it’s not surprising that many of the fashion credits in this case go to Mr. McQueen, but Formichetti has also dressed Ms. Gaga in clothes by young designers from around the world, including London-based milliner Nasir Mazhar and American designer Benjamin Cho, providing these new talents with a powerful PR platform that brings fashion into the digital age. In this way, Ms. Gaga may now be the single most powerful editorial machine for fashion designers looking for mass exposure.

In some ways, Lady Gaga has surely got Anna beat. Lady Gaga’s unique influence is no doubt inextricable from her affection for often outlandish, highly conceptual ensembles. And there’s no denying that Wintour can much more easily sell consumers Isaac Mizrahi for Liz Claiborne than Gaga can push Alexander McQueen’s SS10 otherworldly creations (the price tag attached to the latter being perhaps its highest but not its only hurdle). Gaga’s game may be niche and not necessarily wearable fashion — but the rate at which she’s educating consumers on avant-garde fashion (until now relegated to niche art and fashion rags) and catching their attention is like nothing the fashion industry has seen before.

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