July 31, 2014 02:00 PM

Behind every mermaid bra, feather headpiece and spaceship dress that Lady Gaga wears lies an homage to style legends.

“Classic for me is something that changes all the time, like a drifting anchor,” the star says in the Harper’s Bazaar September issue. “I’m in a way wearing the same outfit over and over, but I’m just a different expression of the same woman. When I leave the house, I bear the souls of fashionistas who came before me; I continue to live glamorously to celebrate them. I’m just being me.”

Sebastian Faena for Harper’s BAZAAR

Ever since her 2008 hit “Just Dance,” Gaga has been just as famous for her experimental haute couture as her infectious pop songs. For Bazaar‘s cover story, Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld interviewed her about her iconic status. Her latest obsession? Vintage.

“Clothing with a story, a past,” Gaga, 28, explains. “Heavy fabrics, jewels, veils. My latest trip is feeling a connection to all women throughout history through fashion. I love wearing clothes knowing that I’m carrying the spirit of previous fashionistas, and living out more of their fantasies, and my own. I believe clothes carry the soul of the designer and the person wearing them forever, so I look for clothes with a soul. Perhaps it’s something only I can see. But I know it’s real.”

Sebastian Faena for Harper’s BAZAAR

Fresh off her jazz collaboration with Tony Bennett, the “Applause” singer also talks about the other love of her life (besides boyfriend Taylor Kinney, of course): her equally chic French bulldog, Asia, who stars with Gaga in her Harper’s spread.

Asked whether Asia would like to play with Lagerfeld’s beloved cat Choupette — a kitty who Tweets, reps her own makeup line and is pampered by a maid — Gaga gushes about her pet.

“They most certainly must meet! Asia is very sweet and calm. She would be very gentle with Choupette,” she answers. “She does not have a personal maid yet, but I adore making her little presents and cooking her homemade puppy food.”

Tell us: Would you call Gaga’s version of style “classic”? Which wild look is your favorite?

— Michele Corriston

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