Murder. Money. Scandal. Vintage Gucci. Big hair. Lady Gaga and Adam Driver speaking in Italian accents for over two hours. The plot of House of Gucci has it all — and then some.
Based on the life of Patricia Reggiani, the Milanese socialite charged with planning the murder of her estranged ex-husband and Gucci fashion house heir, Maurizio Gucci, in 1995, the movie is full of drama with a capital D. And transforming Gaga into Patricia was an equally intense experience for the star's hairstylist Frederic Aspiras and makeup artist Sarah Tanno.
Initial planning started five months before filming, as Gaga wanted ample time to get into character. Aspiras tells InStyle he started by gathering whatever photos were available of Patricia in the '70s, '80s, and '90s, then worked on filling in the gaps.
"I really went all in because with this with this kind of film, you really have the chance to build the character with amazing style," Aspiras says. "But it's also not just about the hair and makeup. I really wanted the looks to be a vehicle for Gaga to fly into the role and to properly represent the eras in which the film takes place."
Ahead, Aspiras breaks down what went into Gaga's 15 wig hair transformation for House of Gucci.
On The 400+ Page Patricia Reggiani Hair Directory
Because there aren't a ton of available photos of the real-life Patricia, Aspiras looked to the decades' Italian film stars for inspiration.
"Patricia is a real woman, so when you look online there really aren't a lot of photos of her aside from her wedding and in the '90s. To fill in the gaps, we did extreme investigative work to find out what influenced women in Italy – who were their style icons?," says Aspiras. "They didn't really follow American style trends in the '70s and '80s, it was internal, so Sophia Lauren was the go-to in Italy, along with Luigia Lollobrigida. She was like the Liz Taylor of Italy."
After gathering images of famous Italian actresses and popular styles from the '70s, '80s, '90s, Aspiras read each page of the script and made a corresponding book mapping out the styles for each scene, along with their inspiration photos. "Ridley Scott [director] initially didn't want a ton of styles because of the issue of continuity," the stylist explains. "I insured continuity and the establishment of the styles for all of the decades correctly by creating a 400 to 500 page directory for filming."
On What Products Were Used to Create Patricia's Hairstyles
The evolution of Patricia's hair reflects the evolution of her character and the decades in which she's living.
"In the '70s, she has realy beautiful brown fluffy hair. Then we venture into when she's married and gets more refined with some highlights because she wants to fit into the Gucci family. Her look gradually changes in the late '70s and early '80s where she establishes a perm," says Aspiras. "Then I changed her hair to black to represent her power. She has a power blowout and she's like, 'I am Gucci.'"
Apiras also kept in mind the types of products women used during these decades and how they when styling all of Gaga's wigs. "Today people don't put the same types of priming products that they do on their skin on their hair," he adds. "You need product layering to keep the integrity of the style because you can't achieve a power blowout like Patricia's with just hairspray. It will flatten out."
The stylist turned to Joico products to get the job done (Aspiras is a brand ambassador), calling out the Firm Styling Gel, Rise Up Powder Spray, and Flip Turn Volumizing Finishing Spray as his go-tos for the '70s looks that had lots of airy body and volume. For the '80s perm, he used a Joico system and the Dream Blowout Thermal Protection Spray as a base, along with the Powder Spray to hold the volume.
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On Maintaining The Hair Colors of The Wigs
Along with the styling of the wigs, the hair colors also helped signal what decade each scene took place in. Given that Aspiras had to heat style and use products on the wigs, maintaining the hair colors of each one was also crucial in terms of continuity.
He used Joico permanent hair color to create the chocolate brown, warm highlights, and jet black shades seen on Patricia throughout the film, and washed them with the K Pak Color Therapy Shampoo and Conditioner to prevent fading. Aspiras also kept the wig hair strong and healthy with the Defy Damage Bond Protector.
House of Gucci is in theaters now.