To see Lady Gaga as Patrizia Reggiani in the trailer for House of Gucci—Ridley Scott’s highly anticipated film adaptation of the 2001 book that chronicles the real-life crime drama that rocked the Italian fashion house—is to feel as though you’re seeing Reggiani herself. “When it comes to movies, I’m unafraid to challenge myself to look like the character,” Gaga says of the impact hair and makeup (the liner! the lashes! the hair teasing!) had on her ability to embody the heiress turned convicted murderer.
Makeup’s transformative power is nothing new to the 35-year-old multihyphenate, who has made a business of subverting the sexualized image of pop stardom and challenging notions of gender and authenticity one spiky lash and glitter brow at a time. “Makeup changed my life,” Gaga says without a hint of hyperbole, referring to the products she has accumulated while gracing stages big, small, and enormous. Her beauty brand, Haus Laboratories, which she launched as a startup untethered to a major cosmetics company with a group of co-collaborators including her longtime makeup artist, Sarah Tanno, debuted two years ago with the same ethos. “Our mission is to spread kindness, bravery, and creativity to the world by providing these tools for self-expression and, if you’re so inclined, reinvention,” she explains.
Gaga didn’t become a beauty expert when she became an entrepreneur; knowing her way around long-wear lipstick and cake-free eye shadow has been a job requirement since she started performing more than two decades ago. “I’ve tried so many different products, so creating makeup that could withstand a stage performance was important to me,” she continues, insisting that nothing leaves her brand’s proverbial warehouse without being tested by Gaga herself—every gel eyeliner, every matte lip crayon, and especially her newest drop, the Love for Sale Shadow Palette. Available on September 28, the 18 ultra-saturated shades were created while Gaga was working on her second album with Tony Bennett. Named after the 1930s Cole Porter hit and devoted entirely to Porter’s jazz standards, the record debuts on October 1 and was preceded by two intimate shows in New York this summer.
While Gaga stands by the payoff of the creamy powder pigments—one swipe gets “true, pan-to-skin color,” she insists with the vocabulary of a seasoned product formulator—she is adamant that you don’t need to be onstage with Bennett at Radio City Music Hall or on set with Adam Driver in Rome to benefit from its day-to-night versatility. “I think the celebration of makeup is beautiful, but I also think what’s beautiful is someone who may not know if they’re very good at makeup but may want to try anyway. I want to speak to that person and say, ‘I see you and I hear you. This is me singing to you through makeup instead of my voice.’” Here, the Oscar winner and brand cofounder breaks down the very lyrical appeal of her latest launch.
I know a big part of the narrative around the new Love for Sale palette is that it’s not just a palette. How exactly is it different?
Well, it’s completely made in Italy, just like me! It’s vegan and cruelty-free—which is what we stand for; we stand for kindness. And it’s really about creating timeless glam looks with innovative and new formulas that deliver high-performance and long-wear color. We have nine mattes, four metallics, four shimmers, and one allover universal topper, all in one palette to offer endless looks. And, you know, the Love for Sale palette has a special place in my heart because it’s really a classic for day-to-night looks, and the inspiration for that came from a Cole Porter song called “Night and Day.” I actually use this palette every single day. And it’s also nice because it’s called Love for Sale. It’s made with love, and it stands for love: One dollar from every purchase on Hauslabs.com will be donated to Tony Bennett’s charity, Exploring the Arts, which provides greater equity and opportunity in the arts for underserved teens.
Talk me through what a typical daily application looks like for you.
I like to start with Etta [a soft peach], named for Etta James, who was one of the first jazz singers I ever listened to as a little girl. So I start with Etta, then I also use Night & Day as a way to blend that into the eye. Night & Day is more of a white. Then I really like using Amy [a matte taupe], which was named after Amy Winehouse, and I blend Amy into the crease of my eye with I’ve Got You Under My Skin [a tawny beige], using that to really carve out the crease. From there I can really go anywhere, but that’s where I begin. It’s very true to who I am as an artist to have the palette shades align with where I started my love for jazz music, and where I start when I apply my makeup.
Is the goal with this palette to provide a bit of music education as well as a beauty tool?
I wouldn’t say it’s as much about educating people as loving people. The opportunity to sing with Tony again for me was all about love, and we just wanted to celebrate jazz musicians. Cole Porter is one of Tony’s all-time favorite songwriters, and he wanted to make an entire record of his songs, so he called me the day Cheek to Cheek went to number one, and he said, “Hey, Lady, I want to make a record of all Cole Porter songs!” So I said, “Okay, Tony,” and I always keep my word to Tony. It’s also about bringing the spirit of jazz forward by bringing forward the names of people who have sung jazz music, and paying respect where respect is due.
High-performance pigments are what Haus Laboratories does, but what about those of us who, say, don’t live high-performance lives?
Truly, if it’s stage-proof, it’s life-proof! I personally always test, wear, and use this stuff on myself. If I’m onstage, I’m exerting high energy; I’m sweating; I’m singing; I’m making a lot of expressions with my face. What I really love about this product is that it doesn’t crease, and there’s no fallout, no matter what you’re doing.
Confirm or deny: You used this palette on the set of House of Gucci.
We absolutely did. We used the palette while we were filming—and we also used a whole other collection that will be coming out soon. But Sarah Tanno really developed this palette based on the colors we used while Tony and I were making this album. It is a truly authentic palette that’s pushing the boundaries of what artistry can be. I always say, you don’t have to be an artist to look like art. I think a lot of people feel as if they have to be really good at makeup to use great products. But this is great for people who are amazing at doing makeup, and also really approachable and usable. It’s intuitive. And that’s really important to me.
$48.00, HAUS LABORATORIES
Originally Appeared on Vogue