15 years ago, Lady Gaga graced the pop world with her presence. The artist’s debut album, The Fame, delivered mega hits such as “Just Dance,” “Pokerface,” and “Paparazzi.” And while she was busy making one club hit after another, she was also serving fashion looks like no other: Gaga hit the scene with a distinctive style aesthetic that instantly set her apart from the pack. Disco stick included.
Having worked her way up through New York’s club scene, Gaga had a raw fashion edge from the get-go. In the music video for her first single, “Just Dance,” we got our first glimpse at just how effectively Gaga uses costuming. For one look, she wore a vintage red Mugler jacket, complete with gigantic vintage Versace shield shades. In another, she wore a disco ball bra that she made herself. The statement outfits felt both fresh and creative, but they were only the beginning.
As her career began to skyrocket, Gaga’s ensembles grew more outlandish and avant-garde. This was largely thanks to the Haus of Gaga, her creative team that often custom-designed looks for her, including the latex catsuit and disco ball mask she sports in the “Poker Face” video. At a 2009 performance at the House of Blues in Boston, Gaga even hit the stage in her now-iconic bubble dress, which looks exactly how it sounds.
Her willingness to take bold fashion risks, be weird, and permanently live on the “Worst Dressed” lists was both commendable and badass. Because she frankly didn’t care—her wardrobe served as her art, and it was always wholeheartedly Gaga.
This spirit, of course, has lived on much throughout Gaga’s career. Her following album eras have delivered even more memorable style moments—be it her 2010 meat dress at the VMAs, her western-inspired Joanne garb, or her futuristic Chromatica looks. But there’s something about her The Fame wardrobe that’s just a dash more special: After all, it’s where her wild fashion experimentation all began.
Below, see more of Gaga’s best fashion looks from her The Fame days.