Donatella Versace’s ongoing tribute is selling out fast, so is it the antidote to SNL’s acrid atonement?
Lady Gaga is about to become a bona fide popstar, but if you’re not one of the estimated 70,000 fans already lining up in Florence to buy tickets to a family reunion of the singer, you’ll be disappointed – this “House of Gucci” will not sell out quickly. The concert halls of Florence can only hold a few thousand people, so, inevitably, booking the show at a date on Gaga’s calendar has secured a much larger audience for this one-off pop show than either of her tour dates, which sold out out in minutes.
Performing at the Cinecittà opera house in Florence. Photograph: GNM
This, of course, is typical for Gaga. She is phenomenally successful, yet turns off so many of her fans that they don’t bother trying to get tickets to one of her arena tours. If only her rabid fans could love her the way she loves them.
To the vocal minority in favour of Gaga, the Italian performance at the Cinecittà opera house in Florence will feel like “brilliant news”, as the show’s promoters are telling the press, and certainly there is much speculation about its prospects for success. This is the house where opera stars John Travolta and Uma Thurman debuted their respective classical recitals, and 30 years later “House of Gucci” is already being billed as “a spectacular personal gift from Gaga to her fans”.
Other rumours are that Gaga is working on new music and looking to other “beautiful women” to model her clothes – the highly thin Rihanna and the diva of late 40s Italian movie stars – to recreate her signature look. Gaga did have an eight-year relationship with Roberto Muratore, the man behind the visuals for her videos. But she ended it when she made it known she no longer believed he was married to his partner. Gaga is not mollycoddled by her relationship with the Italian fashion house, but from a career perspective. This show is her idea.
Lady Gaga performs at the Cinecittà opera house. Photograph: GNM
In terms of the music, “House of Gucci” will be a mini pop concert set in a French chateau-inspired set, with an “after-party” disco inspired by the black-and-white director Michelangelo Antonioni, where Gaga is set to arrive on a motorbike to say farewell to her rapturous fans. She will DJ and talk about her work. I have no idea what the format will be like, but fans will be able to buy electronic or digital tickets for a straightening brush-like appearance from Gaga.
This, of course, will not be everyone’s cup of tea. The thought of Gaga in Gucci is not new, and so she is quite timely in taking this act to Florence. And it will generate a huge amount of publicity for the brand. There is also a very heavy irony behind the fact that “House of Gucci” is, in fact, “Gaga Gucci”: her brand of extreme chutzpah and rock-star antics has, at the very least, sold her out to her brand.
If anything, this could be the big commercial boost Gaga needed to make her new album “Just Dance 2”, but given the acerbic review of her performance at the Grammys, Gaga’s judgment is called into question.
However, it does bring up the curious issue of how often she is cheered by audiences, who cry “I love you”, then cheer her on as she does cartwheels, walking on stilts and skipping. She has earned a cult following, but many don’t trust her, and will not be swayed by her posturing. Lady Gaga is not what she seems.