Latest posts by Rebecca Mann (see all)
- Tequila’s new Mexican wave crests in travel retail - April 22, 2015
- Toni & Guy: A cut above at London Fashion Week - March 2, 2015
- All fired up for the real Dragons’ Den - November 21, 2014
In the parlance of Mother Monster: “Paws Up”. I’ve just about recovered after spending seven days or so following Lady Gaga back and forth across the Atlantic and La Manche. It’s been bizarre, brilliant and is probably un-Bloggable. You really had to be there…but I’ll try.
My first encounter with Lady G was at the official reveal of her debut fragrance Fame, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City. And what a reveal it was. Ahead of the event, Coty pulled out all the stops to ensure the media looked the part, by providing themed black-and-gold manicures inspired by the fragrance flacon, a hairdresser and – in line with the Black Tie Masquerade dress-code – bespoke masks (mine was black latex).
The launch event itself was quite unlike any other this writer has ever attended. Half-naked male models flanked the red carpet. Celebrities mingled with mere mortals. Guests drank dry-ice Margaritas from black goblets. But the highlight of the evening was a performance art piece named “Sleeping with Gaga”. This involved Lady G feigning slumber inside a giant replica of the Fame fragrance bottle, while selected guests (including The Moodie Report) were invited to stroke her hair and hand (both very soft). Yes – I touched Lady Gaga! My 12 year-old is still dining out on it.
Gaga then exited the bottle for a quick tour of the Guggenheim, before re-entering the flacon to have her head partially shaved and then tattooed by Mark Mahoney. After apparently relieving herself in a Champagne bucket, swigging Patrón from the bottle, smoking an electronic cigarette and flashing her breasts. All of which was streamed live to www.littlemonsters.com
How do you follow that? Quite frankly, I wanted to sleep for a week – and I was only watching – but Mother Monster is made of sterner stuff. The following day Lady Gaga was up and at ’em at Macy’s, for another high-profile PA which involved a horse-drawn carriage, again in the shape of the fragrance flacon, and a matching black/gold outfit and manicure.
My next encounter with Lady Gaga took place in Paris, a few days later, when Coty kindly invited me to the artist’s Born This Way Ball, at the Stade de France. I’m no stranger to this stadium (last time I visited was in 1999, when Wales won 33-34, thanks for asking). The rugby crowd can roar, believe me, but this was in another league altogether. There were 75,000 of us, jumping up and down, waving our arms in sync, and bellowing out the lines to Bad Romance, Poker Face, Americano et al.
But this was no mere gig. There were show-stopping sets (Gothic castle!), flamboyant costumes (leather, latex, heels, studs!), a neon hologram head (I kid you not), a giant, graphic multiple birth (remember I said you had to be there) and a back-story involving an alien fugitive. Lady G took audience participation to a new level, selecting various members of her die-hard Monster Pit fans to come both backstage and onstage. But the biggest surprise of all? The vocals. Mother Monster can sing. Really, seriously well.
But Lady G is also mighty savvy – as is Coty. So before the show even started, her loyal fans were shown several TV clips of the Fame advertising campaign, on screens around the ground. What price that exposure?
The following day, the hardest-working woman in showbiz was back on the PA trail to promote Fame, this time gracing Sephora with her presence. Over 4,000 adoring fans turned up, while who knows how many more watched the live stream. Mother Monster rocked up at the Champs-Elysées store in a black convertible filled with flowers, dressed in a vintage Alaia gown, for what she described as a “fragrance picnic”.
Those PAs are paying off. On Saturday Lady Gaga tweeted: “The reaction to Fame has been overwhelming. 6 million bottles in 1 week makes it the 2nd fastest selling fragrance after Coco Chanel.”
Talk about The Edge of Glory. That’s an impressive result, especially for a celebrity fragrance. Bravo to Coty for taking a few risks to create/support a product whose every element has been uncompromisingly on-brand from start to finish. Fame has been a welcome breath of fresh air in an industry that’s become increasingly, if understandably, anodyne.
To sum up, my week with Lady Gaga involved Paparazzi, Boys Boys Boys and Disco Heaven. It was wild, weird and wonderful. To mis-quote Allison Pearson, I really don’t know how she does it. I guess some people are just Born This Way.