In a recent interview with Spanish magazine Hola!, stylist Marta del Rio spoke about Lady Gaga, the fashion at MTV's Video Music Awards, and her own journey from Marbella to New York.
Hola! Magazine: Your personal look seems perfect to dress Lady Gaga. You even have the same platform boots!
Marta del Rio: Gaga is very amused by the way I dress and sometimes asks me to loan her things. Boots are my favorite shoes because they are gigantic and very tall but they don't bother like heels do. In one of the photo shoots we were doing together, I loaned her the shoes she was wearing. She liked them so much that I gave them to her so she could have a pair of high, comfortable shoes. From then on, she started wearing them all the time and we laughed a lot when we both got to the set qith the same shoes. "Let's be the same," we said to ourselves.
H: In your opinion, what makes Lady Gaga different from the others?
M: For me, something super special about her is how authentic she is, her commitment to work, and the respect for all the people she collaborates with. No one is too small or too unknown to her. And she is a hard worker like no one. She is a non-stop of energy, creativity, and kindness. I am very lucky to be able to work with her and the Haus Of Gaga so often and closely.
H: What is it like to work for a singer of such international stature?
M: It is extremely stimulating as a creative experience. No project is 100% defined at the beginning. There are always changes, adaptations, and evolutions in each project based on what each creative of the Haus of Gaga team brings. At the end of the day, all we do is a pure collaboration between a group of artists with different talents.
H: I get the feeling thaat a massive production is needed every day.
M: At the production level, it really depends more on the type of project. When we do sessions for Haus Laboratories, they’re more simpler and traditional because it’s a smaller company. When it comes to a music video such as Rain On Me, we’re talking about large productions where there can be 100 people on set including the artists, the direction team, dancers, make-up artists, costumes, hairdressers, production... Imagine that for Rain On Me, only for my wardrobe team there were already ten people.
H: Who came up with the outfits that dazzled the VMA’s?
M: The looks were created in collaboration with Nicola Formichetti, the artistic director, as well as Lady Gaga herself and me. But we also spoke with the rest of the Haus of Gaga team and exchanged ideas and opinions. The final look is always a head-to-toe collaboration that not only includes the clothes but also the makeup, manicure, and hair. Once it’s created, we will need more people to finish it completely, depending on what it will be used for. In the case of a performance, Gaga's tour team is involved to adapt the costumes for a live show. For example, we add zippers on the extremities so that you can quickly change an outfit to the next. We also cover some pieces with Swarovski crystals to give it more shine on stage, ans we sew the pockets where the microphone transmitter is kept… Details that are only considered when a live performance is being done.
H: How many people were needed to create all the looks of the VMA’s?
M: In the case of the VMA's, there are many people involved: from designers to public relations of some brands; the team of assistants who help us transport and assemble the costumes; the seamstresses of the set ... In addition, for an event like this, we work very closely with designers to create unique pieces. On top of that, if we add that we made nine complete wardrobe changes, we ended up working in tandem with more than 18 different teams of designers since all the looks combined a mask, a suit, and in some cases, jackets or capes, and jewelry.
H: The most commented thing has been the masks. Whose idea was it?
M: From the beginning, there was no doubt that we would use them for several reasons: one, because right now it is an accessory that is being used and it gave us the possibility to play and explore something that people are seeing a lot. Two, for the message that this would send. For her part, Gaga feels responsible for setting an example and she also has a lot of respect for the body of health workers who take risks every day for us.
H: Which is your favorite design of the six?
M: They are all very special to me, but if I had to highlight one, it would surely be the mask created by Smooth Technology x Diego Montoya. The idea for this mask was to be reactive to Gaga's voice. We knew that she was going to wear a mask all the time and we would not see her sing, but she wanted to somehow continue to give the vision that she was singing. So I decided to find a team of sound and lighting engineers who could create something that would react to her voice. The mask actually has a small microphone inside that captures the tone and creates the sound waves on the mask screen. This can be controlled remotely to change the reaction of the frequency as well as to activate and deactivate the microphone and control the light that it emits.
How does a designer from Marbella become Lady Gaga’s stylist?
M: It is true that I am from Marbella, but I have been traveling and living in different countries such as Switzerland, Italy, England, Japan and the United States since I was 15 years old. Although I started the Fashion School in Rome, I got a transfer and a scholarship to a fashion university in New York in the middle of the second year. When I graduated, I contacted a small fashion company called Nicopanda. It seemed to me that the style and ethos of the company was in line with who I was. The creator of this brand, Nicola Formichetti, was a creator that I admired a lot for his work with Vogue Homme Japan and Dazed & Confused.
H: The rest, as they say, is history.
M: Yes. Being a small company, we all did a bit of everything. When I had been there for a year, Nicola offered to help me with his creative agency, Studio Formichetti. I started to collaborate on small projects and go to photo shoots with him from time to time. We work very well together because we have a very similar background and style. I started helping him with all kinds of projects until I became his right hand man. I have gone from being an intern to a designer, to a creative assistant, and finally, to a stylist and costume director. We have been working together for more than five years.
Translation by LadyGagaNow.