How Much Does It Cost to Be Lady Gaga?

Armadillo shoes, vintage sunglasses, one-of-a-kind jackets—you'd pay a fortune. But Gaga isn't you

By Leslie Gornstein May 15, 2011 4:03 PMTags
Lady GagaGDA via AP Images

How much, in dollars, does it cost to keep Lady Gaga in all her raw meat and cozy egg get-ups?
—Princess Monster Dog, via the inbox

The Lady has no use for your filthy Earth lucre. The Lady trades only in stardust, ectoplasm, and scraps left over from McQueen's 2010 Atlantis collection.

However, if she did deal in cash, Lady Gaga's wardrobe just might bankrupt a mere mortal...

For, between the McQueen shoes, the custom-made egg transport, the entourages clad like Star Trek extras, and so forth, an ordinary person would likely be spending millions of dollars. So sayeth Phillip Bloch, the stylist who put Halle Berry in that Elie Saab gown for her Oscar win.

"You don't just buy these things at Macy's," he quips.

That said, Lady Gaga, of course, is not an ordinary human being.

As much as her wardrobe might be worth on the open market, it's unlikely she paid full price for most of it. If she paid at all.

Take Gaga's much-vaunted relationship with the house of Alexander McQueen. Gaga has described herself a good friend of the late designer—such a good friend that she claims she channeled the dead man while writing "Born This Way." (No comment.) Gaga also loves to bury herself in McQueen creations, but don't be shocked if she doesn't pay all that much.

"A lot of things may be bought, but when you're star of that magnitude, and once a designer has developed a relationship with a star, a lot of pieces are loaned or gifted," Bloch tells me.

"It works like this: The pop star is really asking the designer for a favor. But believe me, the designer is going to ask her for a favor eventually: Come to my show and sit in the front row, wear my dress to the Grammys."

Even maintaining a wardrobe may not be as pricey a task as it seems. According to the stylist team known as Lee and Lovelace, who have worked with Celine Dion and Mariah Carey:

"An inexperienced stylist would presume that it would take a small army to satiate Gaga's fast-moving, over-the-top style. The truth is that it can easily be done with one stylist that has two very seasoned assistants."

But what about the pieces that do cost real money? Well, it's not like Gaga can't afford them. But she may not have to.

Depending on their label and management contracts—and each one is different—pop stars may get their handlers to pay for at least some of that, especially on-stage wardrobe. In music-industry parlance, pop stars often get a chunk of cash known as "tour support."

Often that money goes toward transport, but give that Gaga seems to value clothes more than coaches, you can safely bet that some of that "tour support" money is going toward armadillo shoes and vintage sunglasses.