We like to claim things as ours here in Tampa Bay. Lady Gaga, for one. Before she was the biggest star in the world, she performed at two Ybor City nightclubs toting a modest disco stick and rocking a homemade outfit. She returns Saturday in full bloom, this time to the St. Pete Times Forum. Her wardrobe will be much more spectacular. More bizarre. More Gaga. "For the city of Tampa to say they have this relationship with this particular artist who comes back again at a much larger venue is huge," said Tampa fashion designer Jorge Alvarado. "We got to witness this artist grow up. We were a part of that." She has worn a dress made of dead cow. A hat made of telephone. A bow made of hair. She has incubated on the red carpet and performed bleeding from the chest. We asked local artists, fashion designers and creative geniuses to imagine their own designs for Gaga. Something that would top her already outrageous fashion feats. She is ours, after all. — Stephanie Hayes email@example.com
"I love robots and I used to collect PEZ dispensers so I thought it would be funny seeing Lady Gaga wearing something incorporating both. I was also inspired by just recently seeing the custom dispensers that were made of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I've seen felt PEZ Halloween costumes but she'd probably have to go all out and make someone piece an outfit together out of plastic. It would be even better if she somehow incorporated giant bricks of PEZ that shot out at the crowd."
— Josh Sullivan, St. Pete comic artist and painter, currently working on a print 'zine series called Fifty-Two Friends
A PEPPERMINT TWIST
Starlight mints, marshmallows and dog hair.
— Morissey Montgomery, 4-year-old daughter of tbt*'s Ben Montgomery
"The outfit is inspired by the Irish war goddess, Morrigan, who was able to metamorphose into a carrion crow. The overall look is a dark apparition. The dress is made of a metallic silk faille so it would resemble armor. She's in a full digitally printed body suit to give her skin the impression of stains from battle. Oxidized silver armor rings for the fingers to look like talons. The shoulders and shin guards are fish leather. Jet black hair with feathers strung in it with red streaks and black contacts to personify crows' eyes. I felt this was appropriate because she's been exploring a darker side rather than bubblegum pop and this would be a look to complement the direction of her current styling."
— Ben Chmura, Tampa native living in New York; fashion designer and Project Runway contestant
"It's a suspended cocoon-like dress made of woven palm (which would allow her to dangle above the adoring fans). It's clasped with a sand dollar brooch and further accessorized with orange slice eye gear and a choker made of live red ants. Her hair is dyed the color of sunshine. I guess she'd get around by a pulley system that would enable her to suspend over the stage, glide over the audience, hover, swing and twirl. Her arms are, of course, rendered useless by the outfit, and it's awfully difficult to see through those orange slices. But who needs arms and eyes when you look this outrageous?"
— Calan Ree, St. Pete graphic designer and doll, finger puppet and jewelry artist; creator of the online comic GingerDead and Friends
"She's a Southwest Airlines plane. I wanted to go for something that was newsy. She's always going for stuff that inspires people, and she's always standing up for people. I thought, let's make her talk about something crazy. It would be made of literal sheet metal, with holes."
— Amanda Starling, 18-year-old senior at Northeast High, editor at tbt*'s student newspaper, tb-two*
"I chose this design from my collection because I see it as a future-forward display of art in which the thousands of reflections symbolize the multifaceted depth, creativity, and artistic purity of Lady Gaga."
— Ioulia Svyatogor, head designer at Designs to Shine in St. Pete, making ballroom dance dresses and evening gowns
"My inspiration was based on Gaga's interest in the human body of late (like those implants she has attached on her face and shoulders). As an artist I chose these images to collage into an outfit because I am intrigued at the beauty of anatomy, and hidden curiosities that aren't easily seen."
— Demeree Barth, Clearwater art teacher, jewelry artist, painter and creator of DemiGod studio on etsy.com
"I tried to come up with a design for a hand-rolled cigar bustier with a gold rhinestone belt that has the rising sun in the center. I know how Lady Gaga is in full support of earthquake relief in Japan, so I thought let's make that sun the focus. Below it is a globe skirt. I'm inspired by the lamps in Ybor City. I was channeling the flamenco dancers in Ybor, and I thought of making a choker of castanets. The shoe is a typical flamenco dancer shoe, but I decided to put the stiletto in the front instead of the back. The flamenco dancer hairstyle is a bun, and I thought we could have the palm leaves striking through it to reflect the Cuban history in Ybor City."
— Jorge Alvarado, Tampa fashion designer, creator of the 7th Avenue Underwear line
the queen of casual
"The only way Lady Gaga can shock the public anymore is to strip away all of the artifice and architecture. Instead of a plastic egg or a dress made of prime rib, we'd like to see her show up to an event in something completely mundane and average. Khakis and a polo shirt, maybe. Or how about some white sweatpants and a pink hoodie, ponytail and no makeup? Think of the artistic interpretations! We are all sheep, and Gaga is the shepherd."
— Stephanie Hayes and Desiree Perry, tbt*