On the Rhodes Again

By Dave Good

San D iego's "little monsters" (the pet name Lady Gaga uses for her legions of fans) are doubtlessly agog, awaiting the Lady's Viejas A rena gig this month and the arrival of her new album, "Born This Way" (the title track of which Elton John recently deemed the "gayest song" he's ever heard).

As Gaga, Inc. hauls its freight-load of fetish-inspired, spark-spewingattire into town, a local fashion arbiter has her sights set on the avant-garde megastar. For nearly five decades, the far-out, punky gowns of Zandra Rhodes have kept celebrities such as the late Princess Diana, Jackie O., Bianca Jagger, Freddie Mercury, Kate Moss and Paris Hilton on the fashion map. Now, Rhodes wants to create for Gaga, who may just be her equal in the outrageous department.

"I'd adore dressing Lady Gaga," Rhodes says via phone from Florida. "I could do her in some of my gorgeous traditional things (or) maybe a punk design, with one of her breasts out."

As in a fully exposed, NFL-affronting "malfunction"?

"Yes, I think it would look lovely," says Rhodes, whose bold, breastbaring designs are on display at the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park through April 3.

Born in England, Rhodes studied at London's Royal College of the Arts. Once considered too adventurous by conservative British standards, she started her own clothing line and now divides her time between London and D el Mar.

At 70, she is a walking color burst, keeping her once lime-green and purple hair a shade of hot pink.

"Lady Gaga's been to A rmani, and he's more conservative than me," Rhodes says. "I'd hope that she'd have confidence in someone with pink hair."

Even for Rhodes, designing for Gaga would be a challenge. After all, it wouldn't be the first time Gaga has led with her chest assets. Her boobs have been painted, bound in rope, wrapped in crime-scene tape and disguised with uncooked pork chops. Should Gaga's people call for a fitting, Rhodes says she'd prefer to take the less-is-more approach.

"She's young," Rhodes says. "That means that all the parts of her body are okay being exposed."

Lady Gaga
Opener:
Scissor Sisters
Date: March 29
Time: 8 p.m.
Venue: Viejas Arena, SDSU
Tickets: $53.50 to $179
Info: 619.594.6947 or as.sdsu.edu/viejas_arena

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