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Wearing head-to-toe double-G logo Gucci (jacket, pants, socks), polished off with signature horsebit loafers, hairstylist Frederic Aspiras has dressed the part on the occasion of a screening of Ridley Scott’s MGM film House of Gucci at The London West Hollywood in Beverly Hills last night.
The personal hairdresser and wig designer to Lady Gaga since 2009, he is also the man behind her 55-plus on-screen brunette looks as Patrizia Gucci in the film, spanning from 1972 to 1997. His work included creating 10 custom wigs.
“I want to not see Lady Gaga on that screen,” was the key piece of advice the singer-actress gave him, which Aspiras held close to heart during the five-month project.
“This movie, for me, is a love letter to my mom,” Aspiras told The Hollywood Reporter at the screening. “My mom had Alzheimer’s and was a hair dresser. I used to go to her salon, where I was taught how to do hair at such a young age, and here I am doing the House of Gucci movie! Six months prior to the day of filming, she died. And I didn’t want to do hair anymore. But my Haus of Gaga team allowed me to use my creativity to work through my grief and to show how much I love her. Because when I look back at the film, every hair style reminds me of her. I took that sadness and used it in a way that helped me to carry on with her story. I wanted to remember that she was part of it, that she taught me that.”
As for the specifics of what his mother taught him, Aspiras shared: “Going back to the technique, the most valuable thing that I learned from her is fundamental hairdresser techniques, which I used in the film. For the ‘70s, I did wet sets. In the ‘80s, I did spiral curls. In the ‘90s, I did power blowouts — to the T. Exact technique, exact type of products.”
For the wet set looks, Aspiras prepped Gaga’s hair with JOICO K-Pak Color Therapy LusterLock and JoiGel Medium Styling Gel before rolling it. After rollers were removed, a couple drops of JOICO Colorful Glow Beyond Anti-Fade Serum were used with Aspiras breaking up the curls by hand before brushing; then hair was set with JoiMist Firm Protective Finishing Spray. Later in the film, damp spiral perm curls were pieced out and individually finger twisted; then JoiWhip Design Foam was distributed over all and dried with a diffuser attachment. A hair pick created ‘80s volume before setting with Joico Flip Turn Volumizing Hair Spray. And JOICO hair color safely took Gaga’s tresses from platinum blonde to Gucci brunette.
Aspiras noted that he prepared a 450-page directory of hair looks from the script that homed in on history. Research included interviews with Italian women, chats with locals who knew Patrizia, watching relevant ‘70s documentaries, and studying Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida.
“For my job, it was about being able to use hair as a tool for the actress to really delve into the mind of this person, who she was portraying,” said Aspiras. “So I had to be as authentic as possible by using exact techniques of a 1970s hairdresser — wet set rolls, backcombing, French lacing, spiral perms. I wanted the texture. I wanted the vibe. I wanted the way it moved. Exactly the way it felt. Because it needed to transport you to that time. This was about 25 years of a person’s life … If you came to our glam trailer, it was like CSI. Floor-to-ceiling mood boards.”
As a newbie on set, he also pushed the limits. “Ridley Scott is a veteran, and he really wanted just two hairstyles in the whole film, because he wanted the editing to be so easy,” said Aspiras. “But I was like, ‘Nope. I’m going to show you.’ I spent five months. And the guy did not talk to me once on set, because i was this young kid. But I showed him.”
I did the 450-page directory of hair looks,” continued Aspiras. “For each page of script, I said, ‘This is how the map is.’ I created all the hairstyles, so when I got onto that thing, it was like ‘Boom! Hands on.’”
That translated into four to five hours of hair prep for Gaga every morning, compared to the six hours required each day to transform and age Jared Leto into Gucci heir Paolo Gucci (for which designer Göran Lundström used multiple pieces including a bald cap and a wig) — a continual comparison that Aspiras made to keep them going when the alarm clock went off at 4 a.m.
“We colored every hair, every wig, to make you feel like she went from rags to riches,” said Aspiras. “It’s just that kind of dedication. Continuity is so important, because directors don’t film things from beginning to end. They film from the middle of the movie to the end. So I had to do it with products that didn’t mess up. These wigs alone cost like $10,000!”
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