The changing face of Versace: Lady Gaga is face of fashion label for Spring 2014

The fashion giant is going Gaga, Alexander Fury reveals today. So what do these two giant brands see in each other?

“What do you wanna wear this spring? / What do you think is the new thing?” Lady Gaga asks in her song “Donatella”, dedicated to Donatella Versace, the lead designer of the Italian fashion house that bears her name.

Today, she answers her own question: the superstar singer has been unveiled as the face of the spring 2014 Versace campaign, photographed by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot.

The Independent was given the first look at the images set to grace glossy magazines from January. If the label inside is Versace, then presumably this spring the answer is chain mail, hyper-short skirts and metallic Medusa head medallions the size of a fist.

When The Independent spoke to Versace before her recent show, she said this collection was about “The girl on the street”, but “ Gaga on the street” feels more accurate.

“I am honoured that my friend Lady Gaga is the face of our new Versace campaign,” Donatella said. “I wanted to capture her true beauty and spirit in images that are elegant and alluring. She is like family to me, the embodiment of the Versace DNA.”

For keen Gaga observers, the clues were already there. For her recent outing on NBC’s Saturday Night Live in the US, Gaga wore custom costumes created by the Italian fashion house.

Unlike many celebrity endorsements, Lady Gaga for Versace feels perfectly attuned. It’s not just that the singer and Donatella have been spotted wearing near-identical Versace outfits and matching manes of peroxide-blonde – a look Gaga maintains for her campaign debut, where she appears as a veritable Donatella doppelgänger.

Gaga also wore archive Versace for her 2011 “Edge of Glory” video, which has since racked up 76 million views on YouTube. That’s a demographic to make heads spin. Tapping Gaga makes economic sense.

There’s also, inevitably, the question of whether this is a step to a further collaboration with the house. Earlier this year, Versace teamed with the British rapper M.I.A. to design a range for its lower-priced sister line, Versus. A similar Gaga/Versace collaboration feels less like a question mark and more like a question of time.

After all, the singer already has her own in-house fashion label, Haus of Gaga, creating bespoke frocks. Granted, they’re only worn by the Lady herself, for now. But the appetite for Gaga-associated product is insatiable, especially in fashion.

In February 2010 Gaga was a high-profile addition to the catwalk of the Parisian fashion house Mugler, a label whose then-creative director, Nicola Formichetti, was also the musician’s stylist. Despite her latest album’s title, Artpop, and her arty pretensions, it’s that fusion of pop music and fashion, rather than art, that Lady Gaga is arguably best known for.

Her 2010 video for “Telephone” was seen by many as the zenith – or nadir – of celebrity endorsement. It includes product placement shots for the likes of Virgin Mobile (which sponsored her 2009-11 “ The Monster Ball” concert tour), Monster Inc (the creator of Gaga’s own branded Heartbeats headphones) and Polaroid (which named Gaga creative director and began working with her on a line of speciality products named the “Grey Line”).

Foremost among the Polaroid products are the GL20 sunglasses, containing an embedded digital camera, a clever fusion of fashion and image-making. Which is what Gaga is really all about.

The Versace campaign appears to make perfect sense. Gaga has already featured on the cover of pretty much every fashion magazine – her latest being the October 2013 cover of US Elle – so the transition to the advertising pages inside is the next natural step.

She’s also been tapping fashion image-makers to help refine and define her look. Stylist Nicola Formichetti was the first (he’s now creative director of the fashion company Diesel), who brought in image-makers Nick Knight and Hedi Slimane, the latter working as a photographer alongside his role as designer of the Saint Laurent fashion house.

They created the cover art for her albums Born This Way and The Fame Monster, respectively, alongside shooting advertising campaigns for Hermes, Giorgio Armani and – of course – Saint Laurent. Her Artpop image was devised by the Dutch fashion photographers Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, whose commercial rates are reputed to be the highest in fashion.

It’s Gaga’s ties to the fashion industry that make her such a viable Versace campaign star. She may have her own fragrance – as does everyone from Jennifer Lopez to One Direction – but in her case photographer Steven Klein created the imagery. Her concerts are as much about what she wears as what she sings. And the high-concept, high fashion outfits she sports on a daily basis – from designers including Louis Vuitton, Comme Des Garçons and, of late, plenty of Versace – are at least as famous as her songs. More people know she wore a dress made of meat than can name half-a-dozen album tracks, despite her millions in sales.

Lady Gaga’s constant visual reinvention is just one reason she’s often touted as a natural successor to Madonna – much to Madge’s chagrin. The material girl may have beaten her into second place to top the Forbes list of 2013’s highest-earning musicians, but now Gaga has taken her Versace mantle. Madonna starred in the brand’s campaigns back in 1995, and again for spring/summer 2005. Her fee for the latter was reportedly a cool $10.5m (£6.5m), plus free Versace clothing for two years.

There is no official word on Lady Gaga’s financial involvement in the campaign. But despite her affection for the brand, she certainly won’t have done it for love. Lady Gaga means business. Big business. And it isn’t restricted to recording contracts.

Video: Lady Gaga touches down in Japan

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Assistant / Credit Controller

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are an award-winning digit...

    Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform Engineer - VMware / SAN / Tier3 DC

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior VMware Platform En...

    Recruitment Genius: Purchasing Assistant

    £10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger Assistant

    £17000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A distributor of specialist ele...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable