If you wander into the Dallas Museum of Art on Friday night and find a sea of people dressed in eccentric costumes more appropriate for a nightclub, don't worry, you haven't taken a wrong turn. This week's Late Night at the DMA, a monthly event in which the museum stays up late, is drawing its inspiration from the exhibit Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion, and the festivities include a Lady Gaga costume contest.
The "Born This Way" singer is one of the most famous clients of van Herpen, a 32-year-old Dutch designer who frequently works with 3-D printing and has also dressed Bjork and Beyoncé. The DMA's exhibit, on view through Aug. 20, is the first touring show of van Herpen's work and features 45 outfits from 15 collections.
The DMA has only shown one fashion exhibit in the past (of work by Jean Paul-Gaultier) and thought van Herpen's sculptural designs would appeal to Dallasites known for their love of fashion.
“Historically, Dallas has been a center of design, of creation, and also a center of fashion and taste,” Agustin Arteaga, the museum’s Eugene McDermott director, said at the opening of the exhibit in May.
This Friday, the DMA wants to see that fashion sense and creativity on display for a costume contest focused on van Herpen's client, Gaga. There aren't many specifics on what a Lady Gaga costume should entail, but the Facebook event promises that "anyone who comes to DMA Late Night dressed in their favorite Lady Gaga ensemble will receive half-price admission to Late Night." Regular admission is $10, so you'll save $5.
These parameters leave you a lot of options; Gaga has worn many distinctive outfits since she rose to fame in the late 2000s. You could glue some bacon to a T-shirt dress and say it's the meat dress she wore to the 2010 Video Music Awards, or you could stitch hundreds of Kermits on a jacket — a timely choice since the voice actor who plays Kermit was just canned.
If you're feeling pressed for time and that sounds like a lot of work, we recommend the comparatively understated yet still iconic hair bow.
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If you want to participate, arrive in costume between 6 and 6:45 p.m., and make sure you're one of the first 50 people to sign up. (That's the capacity of the contest.) At 7 p.m. in the atrium, judges will decide the winner, who will receive $100 to the DMA store and a copy of the exhibit's catalog.
The top five Gagas will progress to a people's choice contest on the DMA's Instagram page Monday.
Is that not enough Gaga for you? There will be other themed events throughout the evening. Lady Gaga tribute performer Athena Reich will provide an appropriate soundtrack, and there will also be fashion arts-and-crafts projects and lectures on van Herpen's work and influence.
Late Night at the DMA, 6 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 21, Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St., $10, dma.org.