On the eve of her fourth studio album's release, pop diva Lady Gaga lived up to her reputation for doing things on a grand scale on Sunday as she donned what she called the world's first flying dress.
Gaga, known as much for her off-the-wall performances and outrageous costumes as for her music, was strapped into a contraption mounted on a flat disk and fronted by a molded body suit. It hoisted her aloft before a horde of media and industry types.
The dress, which she dubbed "VOLANTIS," may only have risen a few feet off the ground and propelled her perhaps 20 feet before alighting. But no matter, Gaga was, well, gaga, letting out a joyous screech after her "flight" in a warehouse at the decidedly unglamorous Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Calling VOLANTIS "an amazing ambassador for creativity, Gaga, born Stefani Germanotta, said that while her latest sartorial statement "is a vehicle, she essentially is a metaphor for me." She explained that Gaga was serving as a voice for "the youth of the world," especially those "who don't think they'll ever penetrate the corporate world."
The pop star has made world youth, especially the disenfranchised, a personal cause. Among other initiatives, she has set up a foundation and lobbied extensively against bullying.
In a message to young fans around the world, she said: "Harness your creativity, harness your invention, and know that you are valuable."
The event was one of many over several days that Gaga has staged in conjunction with the U.S. launch of ARTPOP, which will be released on Monday after a delay owing to a hip injury.
Gaga has described ARTPOP as "a celebration and a poetic musical journey" marked by a "lack of maturity and responsibility." On Sunday night she noted "the album's a little chaotic," adding "there's a mathematics, a physics about it," which she saw as tying in nicely with her flying machine.
"It's not really about me at all ... This is not about money and mass production," she said. "It's about moving the world away from a place of vanity and ego."
Nonetheless, Gaga, named the top-earning musician under 30 by Forbes with an estimated take of $80 million last year, teamed up with Jeff Koons, often lauded by also criticized as the most brazenly commercial of contemporary artists.
Koons designed the cover art for the album, as well as various art installations connected to its release. They include several monumental sculptures, which were on display on Sunday. One of those graces the "ARTPOP" cover and depicts Gaga with a reflective blue ball between her legs.
ARTPOP's lead single, "Applause", was released on August 12 and made it to number four on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.