Exclusive: We talk with Lady Gaga about Fame, fragrance and why being from New York makes her scent the best (Plus: 16 photos of celebs at the Fame launch party!)

Lady Gaga "Fame" Eau de Parfum Launch New York
Photography by Kevin Mazur/WireImage
Lady Gaga "Fame" Eau de Parfum Launch New York
Photography by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

See all the party photos from the Fame launch in New York! »

Masks, tattoos and Mother Monster asleep on a couch. The party for Lady Gaga’s new fragrance, Fame ($59, thebay.com), was indeed unlike any other perfume launch. But hours before she hosted a masquerade ball at New York’s Guggenheim that brought out the A-list (Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang) and the WTF List (Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton), Lady Gaga was wide awake to talk to FASHION about her post-sex rituals (pizza and a movie!), what the colour black means to her and why being a New Yorker makes her pop star perfume better than other celeb scents.

For someone who hasn’t yet smelled Fame, can you describe your fragrance?
“It’s very sexual, it’s very addictive, but it is very chic. The metaphor of the bottle is that when you spray this product, all the good things about fame come out, and all the bad things stay inside. So when you buy this perfume, you can have the lovely smell of it, [while] I’ll be dealing with all the bullshit inside.”

Why did you decide to create your own fragrance?
“I did it because I got to work with really amazing people that I have admired my whole life, like Nick Knight and Steven Klein—they are photographic heroes in my eyes. I had this idea for the first ever black eau de parfum, and when I spoke to them about it, they both thought it was a great idea.”  

What’s your earliest fragrance memory?
“My mother. She had a mirror that would sit [near the bathroom] sink, and she had all of her fragrances up on that mirror and when we were designing the bottle I told Nick [Knight] and Coty that I wanted it to stand out on my mother’s mirror.”

Keep reading our exclusive interview with Lady Gaga »

Photography by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

When news first broke about your fragrance, you came out saying that it was going to smell like blood and semen.
“I say stuff all the time to rattle people’s cages, so I didn’t really mean what I said. Truthfully, I don’t think it matters what it smells like. And that was sort of the joke that I was trying to make, that when it comes to a celebrity fragrance, you’re usually just buying it because you like the celebrity. One thing that I do have to offer—as a pop singer putting out a fragrance—that makes me different is that I’m from New York and I know a good f—ing perfume.”

How does the colour black play into your daily life?
“I like black and especially what it has to do with fame, because it is a veil. So it’s sort of like saying ‘I don’t want you to see something’ and ‘I feel safe in here, I’m hiding in this black place.’ I quite like that and I always have because I’m from New York and that’s what we do in New York; we wear black t-shirts and black jeans and we don’t brush our hair, we put on sunglasses and [say] ‘f— you, I have work to do.’ And that’s kind of how I am. I’m just a really creative person, and so I put this black veil around myself so that I can be creative and then what comes out is what everybody loves.”

What’s different about your perfume?
“It’s not just the first ever black fragrance, but it’s also [the first ever to have] push pull technology. So on each and every [person] you’re going to smell completely different things at completely different times. I’ve been telling people that what it smells like on me is that it goes from apricot to honey, back to apricot, back to honey, then to the Belladonna [note], and then it has this nice saffron-y and incense sort of masculine thing at the end that’s a little bit leathery and I really like that. What I like about it is that it reminds me of how I feel with my boyfriend: it makes me feel like I want to be made love to, and be ravaged, and then when it’s over, [the fragrance] settles, and it smells cool and I want to order a pizza and watch a movie.”

Lady Gaga "Fame" Eau de Parfum Launch Event
Photography by Kevin Mazur/WireImage

The perfume is surprisingly sweet and the exterior is tough. Is that how you think of yourself?
“I wanted there to be a duality in the experience with it. I wanted it to be almost overbearing when you first smell it, like completely addictive, and ‘whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s that?’ And that’s sort of always been my artistic aesthetic as well. When I style myself, I like there to be an element of ‘wow, what is that?’ So, if I’ve done it right, you should want to practically wash yourself in this fragrance. That was also something that was important to me because with fragrances, they say if you put just a little bit and it lasts all day it’s a very good fragrance, but that’s not what I wanted because I’m a bougie woman, and I take lots of baths and I wanted to be able to spray it all day and feel sexy and feminine all day, I didn’t want to have to limit myself.”

Why did you name the perfume Fame?
“Well I ultimately felt it was the strongest metaphor with the colour of the fragrance—I built the name around the colour. People associate me with the word, because of my album, Fame. And I was always inspired by David Bowie, the song “Fame.” Also, because I’m f—ing famous, so I have something to say about it.”

How does it feel to be “f—ing famous?”
“It’s really just more of an occupation, it’s just like a reality. You don’t really feel anything. I am just really grateful and in an intense state of gratitude where I just want to be a better artist. I’m certainly not griping about fame with this fragrance, but I am saying that vanity is dangerous. Vanity will destroy you.”

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