So um, what exactly is Lady Gaga up to?

After she canceled her Joanne World Tour in February (due to “severe pain”) we were honestly a little worried she’d hibernate at her home on the coast of Malibu for months, shying away from the public and retreating to the quiet life she enjoyed while recording her fifth studio album, Joanne.

But Little Monsters were proven wrong just last week when the pop star returned to New York City for an over-the-top homecoming parade of outfits that could rival the Meat Dress.

Just before Memorial Day weekend, she paraded about Manhattan in a blush vintage Valentino dress plucked from the archives by her stylists Tom Eerebout and Sandra Amador. She later transitioned into elegant, Old Hollywood-inspired mini dresses like a bright red Christian Siriano tulle number she wore for a surprise performance at Rose Bar with her favorite trumpeter, Brian Newman.

Into the weekend, Gaga hopped from one movie star look to the next (and the next, and the next), not forgetting to deliver fashion that’s reflective of her pop icon status. Yes, she gave us classic Chanel LBDs and prim updos with glowing makeup courtesy of Frederick Aspiras and Sarah Nicole Tanno. However, she really played up the “What IS she wearing?” act, once again returning to those 10-inch Pleaser Beyond 1020 heels ($120; amazon.com) she loves and has performed in for years.

But where, exactly, is our favorite fashion queen going, and why is she dressing up so much? We have a theory. While recording and promoting Joanne, Gaga channeled the aura of her late aunt, who inspired her music. She wore paired-down Saint Laurent T-shirts with denim cutoffs and not much else, paving the way for a country-ish aesthetic that some fans didn’t love.

VIDEO: The Cost of Looking Like Lady Gaga for a Day

For Gaga, fashion is a reflection of her work, and of her artistic state of mind. Which means that the new fashion and sudden mix of uber expensive Delvaux handbags with skin-tight blue leather club dresses could only mean one thing: a secret project. Devoted fans have spent the past several days plugged outside N.Y.C.’s Electric Lady Studios, where she’s rumored to be working on tracks with Newman, Tony Bennett, Tyler the Creator, and Mark Ronson, to name a few.

Could a run-in with Bennett mean she’s gearing up to drop another jazzy-fueled string of songs from the Great American Songbook a la Cheek to Cheek? Or will he be included in the soundtrack for Gaga’s upcoming film with Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born? The movie is set for an October release, and she’s reportedly dropping new music to accompany it.

Regardless, Gaga is up to something, and she’s got the looks to prove it.

Below, a sampling of what she’s worn recently, and hints and what she may have been thinking.