Lady Gaga's House of Gucci costumes are an ode to her mother's Italian elegance
In the name of the Father, Son, and the House of Gucci, the world (yes, everyone on planets Earth and Chromatica) prayed for a vast wardrobe of jaw-droppingly campy costumes to accompany Lady Gaga's leading turn in Ridley Scott's juicy, Italian-baked crime drama. And after raiding the music superstar's personal archives, researching fashion history to create unique looks, and (of course) scouring eBay, Oscar-winning Gladiator costume designer Janty Yates delivered. Here, she reveals to EW how she created Gaga's to-die-for aesthetic with looks so saucy and sharp they could practically kill — all tied together with a thread of cultural excellence in a sweet nod to Gaga's glamorous mother, Cynthia Germanotta.
Yates created approximately 1,000 outfits for the film, including around 55 for Adam Driver's Mauricio Gucci (the ill-fated head of the fashion house, whom Reggiani hired a hitman to kill in 1995), approximately 20 for Al Pacino as Aldo Gucci (the brand's chairman), and around a dozen for Jared Leto's balding businessman (and label VP) Paolo Gucci. The biggest accomplishment, as Yates estimates, were between 75 and 100 total looks she assembled in collaboration with Gaga.
Many pieces were from the star's personal collection as well as the Gucci archives — like the vintage trouser suit and fur coat above, worn for an "irate" exchange. In addition to visual beauty, much of the clothing was selected for its potential to enhance emotional moments.
"She wears that when she's absolutely horrified after coming in from shopping to find that her cleaner has exactly the same handbag that she has!" Yates recalls of the assertive ensemble. "She goes down to 42nd street [in Mahattan] and berates the seller. She's horrified that all the bags selling for $100 down there, and she has this big confrontation with Aldo.... she picked up a load of things, mugs pens, just rubbish with Gucci [designs] on them, and threw them at Aldo!"
Work began months before filming, with Yates shipping an entire "closet for Gaga" to L.A., fitting the star over Zoom sessions from Italy and the U.K. The glam team then spent hours on makeup and "chopping wigs" to match each creation. Yates remembers an "assiduous" commitment from Gaga, with meticulous attention to detail — and unparalleled invitations into Gaga's own collections acquired over the years — across all facets of Patrizia's look.
"We bought off eBay, we had access to Gaga's archive, which is enormous. It's slightly outré for what we were looking for, but she was so kind, generous, and helpful, all the time. She's very on it. She's going, 'I'd like to wear this,' but I'm going, 'it's not period correct,' but it doesn't matter because it's so insular. It looked great," Yates says. "Everything was a big discussion, and everything was very directed to who she was interacting with on that scene."
Gaga's connections with the accessory brand Tudor also came in handy, as Yates says the company provided a period-specific watch to the production, while other hardware came from Boucheron, Bulgari, and Gucci.
Yates edited this Gina Lollobrigida-inspired look — which originally included a black bolero hat and belt — that Reggiani wears for Aldo Gucci's birthday on Lake Como. "We could hardly see" the 5' 2′′ singer in the original outfit, says Yates. "[They] had to go!"
Gaga insisted on a loud Yves Saint Laurent dress from the Tirelli archive, with "big hair" to match the "over-the-top" ferocity of a tense spat with Leto's Paolo Gucci. "She basically wanted to be so out there," Yates explains. "She just went straight up to the trail and said, 'I want to wear this when I'm confronting Paolo.'"
Fashion summit at the peak of excellence
When the House of Gucci trailer dropped in July, fans lost their minds (to put it lightly) at the sight of Lodge-y Gaga in a crimson bodysuit on snow-capped mountain. And Yates feels that Gaga had an early idea that the look would turn up the heat on the ski slopes.
"Ridley wanted them all to be in ski suits, to all be wearing white," she says of the scene, which follows the central cast as they gather at a mountainside resort for a 20-year reunion. Yates ultimately added color to Scott's initial vision after seeing a yellow option at the Annamode costume rental service in Rome, which she then redesigned in the final piece's signature red.
"Gaga wanted to be the only one to wear the fur hat. We had black, we had white, she nicked them for herself!" Yates exclaims. "The glasses, which had been a huge success, funnily enough, we got these on eBay early on, they were three different colors: Turquoise, red, or orange. They're all Christian Dior. It just all worked!"
A real-life Black Widow, Reggiani dressed "like a Christmas tree," as Yates describes, but Gaga resisted camp in favor of a sincere embodiment of elegance.
"She introduced the whole fact, saying 'I want to look like my mother,'" Yates says with reference to Cynthia Germanotta. "[Gaga's] mother is an elegant Italian woman who'd wear something, just to shop.... She carried a certain flair, and [Gaga] wanted to look like her."
... don't forget about the father, son(s), etc.
Gaga wasn't the only actor who had fun with fashion; Yates decked Pacino, Driver, and Jeremy Irons in custom, crisp suits, blazers, sport jackets, and cashmere coats. She also ordered around 100 ties, with around 40 going to Driver alone. But it was Leto's character, Paolo Gucci, whose looks demanded particular attention.
"We'd go down to Naples and choose fabrics," she said of working with the Cesare Attolini, the menswear brand that contributed fabulous work to Paolo Sorrentino's 2013 drama The Great Beauty. "I had to go back down there to revamp [some] fabrics because they weren't 'dandy' enough! Jared was the dandy's dandy!"
House of Gucci is in theaters on Nov. 24.
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House of Gucci (2021 Movie)
Lady Gaga and Adam Driver front Ridley Scott’s grim-and-glam retelling of Patrizia Reggiani’s orchestration of her fashion mogul ex-husband’s murder — and it’s all dressed in jaw-dropping costumes that’ll have you praying to the Father, Son, and House of Gucci.
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