It’s hard to believe that it’s only been five years since Lady Gaga released her first album, The Fame. The sheer number of images, hits and sound bites the 27-year-old has ushered into popular culture is uncanny. The New York native’s wardrobe choices have inspired lookalike fans and popularized collections from such designers as Jean Paul Gaultier and Hussein Chalayan. Her first fragrance, Fame, launched in 2012, sold six million bottles during its first week. University courses have analyzed her socio-political significance. She’s the only chart-topper to have used the word “transgendered” in a Billboard number one hit (2011’s “Born This Way”), and her 40 million-plus Twitter followers and 60 million Facebook fans have witnessed her fight for equal rights for women and the LGBT community. Last year, Time Magazine’s readers named her the second most influential person of the decade (beating out U.S. President Barack Obama). Unlike so many in her line of work, Gaga’s affection for fashion is not a flirtation.
Whether donning legendary labels, new technologies or message-based garments, the woman formerly known as Stefani Germanotta is a living, breathing canvas. Which is probably why Donatella Versace chose Gaga as the new face of her label. Before her upcoming world tour, Gaga sat down with FASHION‘s features editor Elio Iannacci to talk about her latest obsessions and her current album, Artpop. Here is a sneak peak of the exclusive interview in FASHION Magazine—which will hit newsstands on January 13, 2014.
On her intimate relationship with fashion:
“Fashion is that thing that saved me from being sad. I’ve always cared about my costumes and my clothes. When I leave my apartment I like to look pretty for my fans but not [in a] hot sexy girl [way]—I don’t care about that, I just want to make you feel something with what I wear. I want you to feel happy and enjoy the theatre of my life the way that I do. No matter what happens with my music and wherever I go that—that heart of that glamorous girl in New York will never be gone. This is who I am and its never been an act and its never been marketing. This is me all the way to my core and fashion is a big part of my life.”
On battling depression by making music:
“I put all my pain into my work and as joyful as this album is, this joy and if you look at the album cover there’s an explosion of joy that is coming from a place of intense sadness that’s been in my heart since I was younger and this is why we understand each other because I was not born happy, naturally always joyful or believing in myself. I was born with a sad heart. I didn’t feel alive unless I was on a stage.”
On the power of Donatella Versace:
“I don’t always have anyone to look up to. It can be kind of lonely because you know some people have been very accepting of me as an artist and some people haven’t. Seeing where Donatella is and how far she’s come and continues to go makes me feel like I have a role model. I have somebody I can look up to and say ‘I can be that’ or maybe I can at least try.”
On finding Mr. Gaga:
“It has been hard for me to find it but I have found love. When you meet someone that’s not intimidated by the amazing people that are around you [or] by the love that you receive—that’s love. Men weren’t always happy for me. It was very challenging to watch a woman be so successful.”
To read the entire cover story, pick up the FASHION Magazine February 2014 issue starring Lady Gaga, available on newsstands or digitally on January 12, 2014.