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Bedazzled Hair and Bold Brows Meet Balenciaga: The Lady Gaga Met Gala Story


Photo: BFA NYC

No one will ever accuse Lady Gaga of half-assing anything. While most Met ball attendees turned up looking fairly low-key when it came to their beauty looks, Gaga burned brightest with beautifully bedazzled hair and beyond bold brows that made Cara Delevingne’s famous arches look skimpy. So, you know, just your average Monday night for the boundary-pushing beauty. “Gaga is 100 percent involved in everything, and she said, ‘It’s the Met Gala, don’t hold back,’” makeup artist Sarah Tanno said. We asked Tanno and hairstylist Frederic Aspiras to spill on those arches and sparkles.


Photo: Getty

“We didn’t want it to be too theme-y, but we wanted to do something grand and really beautiful,” said Tanno. Lest you think this kind of thing is just thrown together, the brainstorming about Gaga’s look started months ago at Balenciaga’s atelier in Paris as the custom-made, hand-beaded gown she wore was taking shape. Tanno, Aspiras, and Wang went over loads of references and mood boards. For Tanno’s part, she wanted something that was more editorial than red carpet, so she pulled a pic of Shalom Harlow with sharp arches from an old issue of Vogue Italia. “It’s the Met Gala, so you have to really go for it,” the face painter explained. And Tanno did by bleaching Gaga’s brows and drawing them back on as a straight and upswept line with black liquid liner.

To keep the spotlight on the brows, the rest of Gaga’s face was decidedly less dramatic. She created iridescent, porcelain skin with NARS Multiple in Quantum, blending it in until it looked like a stain, and then she layered the same formula in Violet Atom on top to make the cheeks pop. The pro applied Audacious Lipstick in Greta and immediately wiped it off and topped with blush in Starscape to produce a matte, stained effect. For her eyes, Tanno wanted to do a “champagne kind of feeling to go with the dress,” so she made them shiny and diffused, accenting them with a tiny wing and a pair of new NARS falsies in Numéro 3. “We wanted everything to be blended, keeping the brow as the centerpiece,” she explained. “We haven’t ever done a look like this, which is what I think is so special for me.”

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Photo: BFA NYC

Gaga’s hair was an amalgamation of crystals, paint, and a custom-made comb inspired by her ornate gown. “We wanted to create something that was really special and complemented what Balenciaga created for her,” said Aspiras. “It has a lot of texture and shine.” To achieve the spectacular, studded result, he used black paint, Swarovski crystals, netting, and a special concoction of gel and glitter. For a “very couture” look, Aspiras shellacked the glittery potion directly to her hair to act as a base before two assistants painstakingly hand-glued crystals from Gaga’s hairline to the crown-like accessory. The large chignon “is an ode to a very classic Balenciaga look,” he said. “That’s the only thing we kept very elegant and classic.”

—Katie Dickens,

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