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Maureen Lee Lenker
July 05, 2017 AT 10:17 PM EDT

A new day has come for Céline Dion.

The Canadian ballad queen and five-time Grammy winner has been on a path to reinvention lately, from her stunning nude snapshot for Vogue to her newfound status as a fashion icon to a racy onstage performance.

The singer, once best known for her full-coverage gowns and her romantic ballads like “My Heart Will Go On,” has been unleashing a more sexual and spirited side of herself enhanced by her slick street-style. She’s traded in the tried-and-true majesty of her Vegas residency (just temporarily — her shows there resume in September) for a more active and visible public life, including a recent highly-publicized spin at Paris Fashion Week.

Could this be the sign of a new career chapter for Dion? Less the loner of “All By Myself” and more the wanton sex goddess of “The Power of Love,” Dion has shown a more provocative side of herself in recent months. Her last album, 2016’s Encore un soir, the first release since the Jan. 2016 death of her husband, René Angélil, was a French language record. Could her next major pop release be more reflective of a more playful and exposed diva?

While we eagerly await her next move, let’s break down the signs of her reawakening.

If You Touch Me Like This…

The singer went a little 50 Shades of Grey with her slinky performance of “Le Ballet,” a single off 1995’s D’eux, at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France last weekend. Taking to the stage in a sheer full bodysuit with beaded detailing and embellishments, she strutted her way through the number. Straddling and writhing across a hunky backup dancer and a chair, Dion turned up the heat with her racy performance. It’s a far cry from her more staid MO of belting out a ballad with emotion-laden gesticulation.

The Naked Truth

Here's a little naked fact to ponder while Celine Dion changes looks between shows: for the past five years she has worn haute couture near exclusively for her own performances (in Las Vegas and on her current "mini-tour" of Europe). She performs a minimum two hours a night, five or six nights a week, dancing and curtseying and generally gesticulating sans abandon, in handmade, hand-beaded delicacies designed solely to walk a catwalk or a carpet (and often with handlers). For Celine's orders, the houses send teams to Nevada for typically three fittings, before the garments are ultimately finished in her local, private atelier. Armani Prive, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, Versace…only a partial list. Everyone, basically. In Vegas, Velcro panels are added to allow for her ribcage to expand or for a quick outfit change. Micro straps of elasticized chiffon prevent a slit from becoming a sloppy situation mid-squat. Shoes—always heels, never platforms—are ordered one size smaller (she is normally a 38) and refitted with metal shanks. Says Celine, "We have to make haute couture industrial." And, more enigmatically: "The clothes follow me; I do not follow the clothes." Which is to say: the haute couture, with all its fragility and handcraft, has to perform professionally for Ms. Dion. And privately as well. Years ago, Celine bought a classic little black dress from the Christian Dior atelier when the house was overseen by John Galliano. It is simple, falling to mid calf, and narrow as can be with just a hint of stretch. It requires a minimum of jewelry, a statement bracelet or perhaps one of the major diamond rings she designed with her late husband Rene Angelil: two pear cuts set in a wide pave band, or two hearts of diamond and emerald abstractly interlocking, on a cushion of yet more diamonds. This LBD forces you to walk one foot in front of the other. This is a dress Celine knows well and clearly loves, the simplest evocation of the private luxury of couture and the total antithesis of the red carpet hoopla that attends the union of fashion and celebrity. It is also the dress she wore to Rene's funeral. #CelineTakesCouture Photo by @sophfei.

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Dion shocked fans when she stripped down for a backstage snapshot with Vogue in its documentation of her time at Paris Couture Week. The image depicted the singer changing looks “between shows” and detailed her relationship with haute couture and fashion designers, noting she has nearly exclusively worn haute couture for her performances the last five years.

The nude snapshot wasn’t the only image Vogue shared documenting the singer’s Monday during Paris Couture Week. In a series of lengthy posts, photos chronicled Dion’s relationship with fashion, fame, and more. See more images here.

Belle of the Ball

John Shearer/Getty Images

While Dion may have provided the vocals for the fairy-tale tune “Beauty and the Beast,” she had her princess at the ball moment at this year’s Met Gala, with an added dash of spice. The Canadian warbler turned heads in a deconstructed Versace gown with an above thigh-high slit in her very first appearance at the fashion extravaganza.

And if watching her work it on the red carpet didn’t do it, Vogue‘s jaw-dropping video of Dion rocking her leather Versace gown and origami headpiece should convince you she has attained a level of coolness mere mortals can only aspire to.

To top off the night, Dion made headlines after she couldn’t fight the power of love hunger, sharing a pic of herself post-Met Gala chowing down on a hot dog from a sidewalk vendor.

Fashion Icon

Marc Piasecki/GC Images

Though Dion has long been known for her ornate ensembles at her live shows, she’s turned herself into a style icon with a recent string of jaw-dropping red carpet looks and a series of funky and fun streetwear wardrobe choices. Dion’s style revolution seemed to begin with the 2016 Billboard Music Awards where she wowed in a metallic gold gown by Valentin Yudashkin — the ensemble was the perfect match to her emotional performance dedicated to her late husband.

But even more impressive than her glam looks has been her street style. As the face of avant-garde fashion label Vetements, Dion has proven herself a distinctive voice in the fashion world.

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In the past year, she has turned out a series of head-turning looks, particularly with her recent connections to Balmain, who have provided many of her street looks, including the above silver-grey robe-style coat. Vogue declared Dion “the first celebrity to wear any new Balenciaga piece under Demna Gvasalia’s creative direction,” marking her a style maven ahead of the curve.

This is a woman known for ball gowns so large they require handlers, but she looks just as stunning wearing a pair of sleek black leather pants to Christian Dior’s fall couture show.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

She clearly loves fashion, too, making headlines with her recent standing ovation at Giambattista Valli’s haute couture show.

Céline Dion gives a standing o' for Giambattista Valli, and no-one else (yet).

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Her leather trench coat from Off-White, a trendy brand run by Kanye West collaborator Virgil Abloh, marked a woman with a brilliant head for contemporary style, while her meta Kate and Leo Titanic sweatshirt showed she’s also willing to laugh at herself. Never let go, Céline!

How Does a Moment Last Forever?

With a viral video, of course, and Dion became part of one when a couple got engaged in front of her at a backstage meet-and-greet. The singer could not contain her own shock and surprise when Nick Janevski, 24, got down on one knee and proposed to his girlfriend of six months, Austin McMillan, 24.

Dion rightly has earned the title of pop diva (in the best sense of the word) — a woman we put on a pedestal for her killer pipes and untouchable grace and elegance. But she proved she was just like the rest of us with her candid reaction to this romantic moment.

She Believes in Life after Love…

Kevin Mazur/BBMA2017/Getty Images

Dion confirmed her heart will go on with her show-stopping 20th-anniversary performance of “My Heart Will Go On” at the 2017 Billboard Awards, but it was her backstage antics that revealed her more playful side she has so eagerly displayed recently. During Cher’s performance prior to accepting her ICON award, Dion was caught on tape singing along to “Believe.” While she couldn’t get enough of Cher, viewers, both in person and watching at home, couldn’t get enough of the 49-year-old in that white, angelic Stéphane Rolland gown.

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