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Lady Gaga Accused of Ripping Off Street Artist With Barney’s Display Window

Jemal Countess, Getty Images

There’s an artistic and cultural argument that nothing is new and everything has been done before, but is reinterpreted to make it “new.” This idea causes heated legal debates about intellectual property. That said, Lady Gaga is being accused of ripping off Collette, a French street artist, with her window display for her Christmas-themed Gaga’s Workshop. The workshop was hosted by Barney’s chic department store over the holidays. See, Rihanna isn’t the only pop star accused of plagiarism!

Rolling Stone unearthed a short film, ‘Looking for Lady Gaga,’ where Collette protests the window and what it represents for filmmaker Josh Gilbert. She is adorned in a white, ornate and dramatic Victorian-style of dress, eerily similar to what Gaga wore at the opening of the workshop in November. Collette’s face is painted with pasty white makeup and she wears her dark hair in braids, causing passersby to ask, “Are you Lady Gaga?” Whether that was authentic or scripted can’t be known. It seems a little too convenient for our taste, but still.

Scenes of Collette’s window displays from the 1970s and 1980s from places like Record City are shown for purposes of comparing and contrasting, and while they are frilly and display some similarity to Gaga’s dramatic style, there’s nothing there that screams “DIRECT COPY” or “RIP OFF” to us. Sorry, Collette.

When the camera pans to Collette’s platforms in order to suggest that Gaga’s signature sky high heels are another similarity, it’s a bit much. Lots of creative types and fashionable artists wear major statement platforms. Because the two women have a similar sense of style suggests nothing further.

Collette states that she has contacted the store, but “no one is doing anything about it.” So she stages her own protest out front of the window, holding up a sign that reads “Thanks a lot!” and then paints her name in white on the pavement. She says she is being ripped off left and right, which, again, we’re not really seeing.

Collette and Gaga certainly aren’t the first artisans to be inspired by a Victorian look.

What do you guys think? Is there too much similarity? Not enough? Are the window displays of the same aesthetic and that’s it?

Watch ‘Looking for Lady Gaga’ Short Film

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