We had the pleasure of speaking with beauty artist extraordinaire…
September 13, 2012 marked the official debut of Fame, the much-anticipated Lady Gaga perfume, with a masquerade soirée at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. But before the larger-than-life Gaga captivated the crowd at the museum that night, she sat down with a chosen few journalists from around the world to talk about Fame and fragrance. Our Deborah Fulsang was one of them. She found the Lady smart and funny, measured and masterful at the soundbite.
Here, 10 questions for Lady Gaga, and 10 intriguing, provocative and thoughtful answers:
LADY GAGA: Hello, I’m Lady Gaga. Nice to meet you.
QUESTION 1: Hello. For a lot of people, putting on fragrance makes them feel a certain way. How does wearing fragrance make you feel?
LADY GAGA: Pretty. Desirable. Depending on what I’m wearing. But I prefer more slutty fragrances. I prefer fragrances that are more luscious and delicious smelling. …I think women should smell yummy—I like to smelly yummy. I actually ultimately decided on this smell because it won over a man. And he was a good catch.
QUESTION 2: Who are some of your beauty icons?
LADY GAGA: Beauty icons. Sophia Loren. Elizabeth Taylor. I mean, I could go on and on about different kinds of beauty icons as well, like Debbie Harry, or I could talk about Greta Garbo or Gene Harlow, or Marilyn, or Isabella Blow, Daphne Guinness, Donatella. I mean I could go on for a really long time—there are a lot of really iconic people. And I always like to name them because I want people to know they are iconic while they are living, instead of when they are dead.
QUESTION 3: This fragrance is called Fame, but what does real fame smell like?
LADY GAGA: It smells just like this. That’s what this is—the smell of fame. You can buy it for $69.95.
QUESTION 4: How did your idea come up for a black fragrance?
LADY GAGA: Because I’d always watched celebrities put out fragrances while I was younger, and I didn’t like any of them and I thought it would be really punk to make a black fragrance. That’s why. And also because Fame has a veil, and it’s a nice representation of me because I will always have a veil over me because the raw human artist that I am is for me only, so that I can protect and create—only the product spouts out the top.
QUESTION 5: Can you elaborate on the ad visual?
LADY GAGA: Well, yes, the ad is about the pleasures of fame, but how ultimately those pleasures can lead to vanity that, if not managed well, has a dangerous prospect around the corner. Vanity is the death of fame.
QUESTION 6: What is the smell you would prefer not to live without and why?
LADY GAGA: I think the most wonderful smell in your life is the smell of your friends—your real friends. Like when they all come together and you smell all your different girlfriends’ perfumes—I think that’s a wonderful smell. I think the smell of your husband, or your boyfriend or your girlfriend when they put their face in your neck in the morning—I think that’s a beautiful smell. Those are the kinds of experiences I want people to have with this fragrance. Even though it is a high-art piece that we created to show you at the Guggenheim tonight, there is also a very sweet and sensual quality that I believe is echoed in how we got to this place. Because ultimately I just love to fucking smell Steven Klein and Nick Knight [who worked on the campaign and the packaging with Gaga respectively] all day long and tell them how brilliant they are. We’re all just sniffing each other, aren’t we? That’s what this party is about anyway.
QUESTION 7: With the black eau de parfum, and with Steven Klein’s film, you’re breaking the rules of glamour—do you have any taboos, any line that you would never cross when it comes to your image or your art?
LADY GAGA: I just think it’s important to be mindful of the temperature of the world, and the temperature of society or certain cultural environments, and I think when you make statements, you just have to be an intelligent artist about it. The greatest activists of all times, the greatest political and musical activists of all time, were really smart and they were really intelligent about where and when they did things. I mean, John and Yoko Ono were the most brilliant at it, so I think you just have to be on the pulse of what is important and fight for things that really matter.
QUESTION 8: For your fragrance creation, did you want also to express the woman’s complexity?
LADY GAGA: No. Not at all—I wanted it to be totally obvious. Like, I’m sexy—let’s fuck. There’s no curiosity about this fragrance: it’s very obvious come-hither. The point is, is that when it’s that obvious and tastes that good—like a prostitute or something—you’d better be fucking careful; you’d better proceed with caution, because it feels good. That’s sort of what it’s about, and that’s what fame is about—I’ve had to proceed with caution in my life. But I’m not going to bore you with my complexities.
QUESTION 9: To whom is your fragrance targeted to?
LADY GAGA: I believe that it is destined to be a fashion-lover’s favourite. If you also just like a really succulent-smelling perfume, it’s a nice chic option. It’s much chicer than some of the others, and I wanted something that was really luscious. And on me—because it smells different on everyone—on me, it’s very apricot-honey, apricot-honey, apricot-honey, and then it goes into the belladonna, that more of a flowery smell, and then at the end I get the incense and saffron—that’s at like the end of the day. Or, as I say, it’s after-sex—when you’re eating pizza in bed. It’s like that different girl, it’s more subtle, more masculine-like—that feeling after you’ve had sex with your boyfriend, almost like you did it together, right? We did it together. Or if you have sex with your girlfriend: we did it together—masculinity at the end of it.
QUESTION 10: Apparently you said you would have liked to incorporate some body fluids in your fragrance? If you could have chosen what ever you like, what would it have been and why?
LADY GAGA: I was just pulling everybody’s tail—I would just do that all the time. Because until you define what a celebrity fragrance means, does it matter what it smells like? I mean nobody really cares, do they? You buy the fragrance because you like the artist, right?
So, for me, that’s where the state of the business was, and then I said I wanted to do something where it actually does smell good, where people actually do want to buy it, and make a fragrance for people who don’t like me will like it.
I don’t [need to] have my face on something for you to know it’s mine. That’s what this means. If you put that on anybody’s mirrored table of perfumes, you know you would say ‘that’s Gaga’s’. You would know that it’s mine because it’s black. You would know it was mine because it’s heavy and abrasive. So I think that’s part of the statement I’m trying to make as well.
And that is what my new album is about as well—communicating through images in a way that music begins to be more free, because my image as a woman is everywhere all the time, and I have take it back and now communicate, not with my body and my face, but my things.
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