Lady Gaga talks to Karl Lagerfeld: The designer and singer discuss fashionable pets, personal style and Gaga’s new friendship with Tony Bennett.
KARL LAGERFELD: Since my Choupette is the most famous cat on the Internet, and your [French bulldog] Asia is the most famous dog on the Internet, should they meet? Does Asia have a personal maid like Choupette does?
LADY GAGA: They most certainly must meet! Asia is very sweet and calm. She would be very gentle with Choupette. She does not have a personal maid yet, but I adore making her little presents and cooking her homemade puppy food.
KL: Choupette talks without words; she communicates with me through her eyes. How does Asia communicate with you?
LG: Asia and I have a very special bond. She also talks a lot with her big, beautiful eyes. Her ears are especially large for a Frenchie, and I can tell she’s comfy at home with Mommy because her ears are down. Asia also loves belly rubs, from everyone, and she lies on her back all the time to let me know!
KL: Choupette is my muse. Is Asia your musical inspiration?
LG: Asia is my inspiration for many things. She has really shown me the importance of living in the moment. If I don’t, I’ll miss a precious look on her face! She is a very romantic and loving animal, and this sort of poetry is what art is all about, I think. Interaction. She loves to sit with me when I record jazz. She never barks or makes noise; she just looks at me with her big ears.
KL: I think animals are better muses than human beings—they’ll never fall out of fashion. What do you think of animals?
LG: I love animals. They communicate with us entirely with love, something we all should do. Asia and my love will never be out of fashion—it is unconditional.
KL: What are you into? What’s your next fashion “trip”?
LG: I’ve been recently enjoying looking far and wide for the best vintage fashion I can find. Clothing with a story, a past. Heavy fabrics, jewels, veils. My latest trip is feeling a connection to all women throughout history through fashion. I love wearing clothes knowing that I’m carrying the spirit of previous fashionistas, and living out more of their fantasies, and my own. I believe clothes carry the soul of the designer and the person wearing them forever, so I look for clothes with a soul. Perhaps it’s something only I can see. But I know it’s real.
KL: Where do you see your look evolving?
LG: I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you. Who knows? But when I sing jazz with Tony Bennett, I want to wear dresses made for real ladies, turn off all the lights, and have you hear only my voice cutting through the darkness.
KL: I wonder if you’ll end up extremely classic one day. Do you think classic can be daring too?
KL: I can picture you doing “Miss Otis Regrets” with Tony Bennett. I love that song. Please tell me about your new album with him [Cheek to Cheek].
LG: Tony has completely changed my life. It’s been a sort of secret that I’ve been singing jazz since I was 13. I was a jazz singer before I was a pop singer. Tony is such a gentleman. He really treats me like a lady. I feel so healed by my relationship with him because some men were very bad to me when I was young and in the studio. Tony showed me what the elegant and old-school cats were like. Our recording sessions were beautiful, memorable. We’ve built a deep friendship. There are 60 years between us, but when we sing together there is no distance. This album is pure jazz, songs from the Great American Songbook, played by both Tony and my respective jazz musicians and friends.
KL: I love Billie Holiday’s “It’s Easy to Remember (and So Hard to Forget).” In life, I always say, most people are easy to forget and hard to remember. Do you like Billie Holiday? What are your musical inspirations for this type of music?
LG: I used to listen to Billie Holiday every Sunday with my mother, but I fell in love with Ella Fitzgerald. She is to me the quintessential jazz vocalist. Her life story, the pain and wisdom, the whiskey in her throaty voice. I felt connected to her because it’s these types of women, the lush ladies of swing, who’ve made me feel like no matter what happens, I can always turn a tragedy into a great performance. That’s the romance of theater.
KL: How long is your world tour? Is it around the world in 80 days?
LG: Seven months.
KL: Do you have a different look planned for every city? I dare say, fashion could be your victim.
LG: I don’t have my looks planned, but it’s a nice compliment to suggest so. Thank you. I bring lots of vintage pieces with me—jewels, hats, bags—and I’m also very fortunate to get sent beautiful couture and runway looks all over the world. I just wear what makes me feel good for the day. Right now I’m enjoying feeling like a lady. Wearing dresses, in love, walking Asia in gardens, singing jazz with Tony Bennett …
KL: I heard you’re going to Dubai for the first time. I hope you like it. I loved it when I showed the Chanel Dubai collection there.
LG: I’m very excited to go there, see my fans, give them the show of a lifetime. And, of course, I must explore the local designers and go shopping!
KL: I would call you the world’s ever-changing fashion icon. How does it feel to be chosen as Carine Roitfeld and Bazaar’s icon? You change all the time, but to me you stay the same Gaga. How do you manage that?
LG: It’s an honor for you to say that, Karl. You are very classic. Classic for me is something that changes all the time, like a drifting anchor. Even though I’m changing all the time, I’m always thinking of iconography—which is repetition of images—so I’m always different. I’m in a way wearing the same outfit over and over, but I’m just a different expression of the same woman. When I leave the house, I bear the souls of fashionistas who came before me; I continue to live glamorously to celebrate them. I’m just being me.
— Harper’s Bazaar