Currently, the news about Lady Gaga‘s grueling struggle with fibromyalgia and her tour hiatus is all that is dominating the Gaga news cycle. But back in July, before Lady Gaga’s chronic pain became debilitating and her groundbreaking Netflix documentary “Gaga: Five Foot Two” was released, the pop artist called hat designer and friend Gladys Tamez 24 hours before dropping the artwork for her fifth studio album Joanne to share some news.
“It’s on the cover,” she told Tamez. Gaga was referring to the now-famous side profile shot, that sees the “Million Reasons” singer set against a soft, powder blue background donning a wide-brim custom millennial pink hat.
“Oh my God. I was so happy that I was screaming,” Tamez tells Billboard of her conversation with Gaga. “She wanted to know how excited I was.”
So what exactly was the lead-up to this moment?
For Tamez, the creative and collaborative process is the same for all of her customers regardless of if they are a Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper like Gaga or not. “She told me what she was looking for, and then she got really involved in the process. Pink is her favorite color, so we went from there,” she said. After bringing a slew of sample hats to Gaga’s house, the pair eventually settled on the 70s-inspired wide brim and muted rose quartz handcrafted piece that, like almost all her hats, took an average of five to eight hours to make.
This isn’t the first time the two have worked together before. Despite embracing quieter style aesthetic from her meat-dress past, the style innovator is happy to up the ante when the timing is right, which included her heavily embellished all-black 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show performance outfit. Tamez hired a team of ten people and worked with Swarovski to create the “Gypsy Rose Lee meets Bob Mackie“-inspired black hat with cascading hand beaded streamers, similar to a dress. “When Gaga heard she was like ‘yes, perfect, amazing.’ And then we started designing the hat little by little and sent photos of the process,” says Tamez.
But, of course, the pink Joanne hat was not the only custom piece for Gaga’s Joanne project. While performing her track “Diamond Heart” on tour, Gaga would wear the “Lady Bianca,” a custom felt velour hat covered in 9,000 Swarovski crystals, inspired by none other than 70s style muse Bianca Jagger. Later in the show, when belting out “John Wayne,” Gaga rocked an all black version, and during the acoustic performance of her track “Joanne,” she wore the “Lady Marianne”, a custom camel piece deocrated with song lyrics and topped with a feather named after English singer Marianne Faithfull. And, to close out the show, Gaga would play the piano while singing her single “Million Reasons,” sporting the same pink hat from her album cover.