New York magazine’s Lady Gaga cover story this week again had me thinking about joy. She’s so playful with fashion and identity that I can’t help but feel a sense of delight at her style choices. In December I considered some of Gaga’s outfits and concluded that the bubble dress was the most joyful. So it gave me a little burst of joy to read that Lady Gaga seems to feel the same way:
Gaga was very taken with her new “bubble dress” at this point, and we talked about its unreality, the beauty of the imaginary. Everyone wanted that dress, but it wasn’t a dress at all—it was a bunch of plastic balls. “On my tour,” she declared, “I’m going to be in my bubble dress on a piano made of bubbles, singing about love and art and the future. I should like to make one person believe in that moment, and it would be worth every salt of a No. 1 record.” She dropped the accent for a moment now—the real girl, unartificed, was right underneath—and leaned in. “I can have hit records all day, but who fucking cares?” she explained. “A year from now, I could go away, and people might say, ‘Gosh, what ever happened to that girl who never wore pants?’ But how wonderfully memorable 30 years from now, when they say, ‘Do you remember Gaga and her bubbles?’ Because, for a minute, everybody in that room will forget every sad, painful thing in their lives, and they’ll just live in my bubble world.”
That’s joy, right? Something evanescent but memorable, something that stays with us in a way that is compelling, repeatable, and a little bit timeless. A little bit of the imaginary where it doesn’t quite belong.