If there’s one thing Lady Gaga knows how to do, it’s make an entrance.
On a Thursday afternoon in August, social media feeds were swarmed with photos of the pop star arriving at the Venice Film Festival via water taxi. Poured into a black bustier dress by New York-based designer Jonathan Simkhai, the “A Star Is Born” leading lady draped herself on the boat’s ledge, legs dangling as she clutched a red flower. She oozed old-Hollywood glamour, her platinum hair pulled back into pristine victory rolls, with bold brows and bright pink lips to match.
This fantasy photo op was actually the start of a carefully curated style crusade. The iconoclastic musician who showed up to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards in a dress made out of raw meat had just wordlessly announced the beginning of a new, refined era.
Lady Gaga, serious Oscars 2019 contender, had emerged.
“She used to do all the risky, fun, different things that you would never expect,” says image consultant Karen S. Raphael, who has styled the likes of Ariana Grande and Cindy Crawford. “I think she’s really outgrown that persona. Now she’s just like, ‘This is who I am . . . I’m a movie star.’ ”
By all measurements, the campaign-trail transformation has worked. Gaga landed a Best Actress nomination for her role in “A Star Is Born,” and another Oscar nod for co-writing “Shallow,” her stirring duet with Bradley Cooper. Decked in luxe gowns from Valentino, Givenchy and Alexander McQueen, she practically ensured an invite to Hollywood’s biggest bash.