By Alex Blynn
When Lady Gaga released the bouncy single “Stupid Love” last month, fans caught a glimpse of the artist they knew from The Fame days, that soulful musician and scene kid who knew exactly where the party was at. All the glittering, upbeat synths and deep, thumping bass lines are back, while the corresponding visuals spotlight hyper-futuristic outfits against a desolate Martian landscape. In the music video, Gaga becomes a high-ponied warrior-savior leading her pink peace corps to stop battling factions in other primary hues from an all-out civil war. To create her pseudo-armor ensembles, Gaga and her longtime partner-in-crime, creative director Nicola Formichetti, tapped designers KAIMIN and Laurel DeWitt, as well as the emerging Brooklyn designer Jackson Wiederhoeft, who created one standout piece: a pink, lace bodysuit with delicate silk bows affixed along its corseted torso, legs, and sleeves.
Wiederhoeft, a 26-year-old Parsons graduate, cut his teeth for more than three years as an embroiderer and runway designer under Thom Browne before debuting his own line in 2019. His first presentation was the product of no-holds-barred creativity, featuring an abundance of bright colors and frills. Think dramatic gowns and pastel hoop skirts with velvet leotards from a land of make-believe. WWD recognized his collection for its “bespoke, intricate garments,” while V magazine dubbed Wiederhoeft an “explorative visionary.”
But in many ways, Wiederhoeft has been on his way to this Gaga moment for most of his life. “In high school I used to have scrapbooks of Lady Gaga pictures that I took off Tumblr and would keep under my bed,” he tells MTV News. “I kept up with the Gaga chat boards online. Like, where is she going? What is she doing? What is she wearing? She helped me understand fashion. So to be dressing her now, it’s like coming full circle. It feels surreal.”
Wiederhoeft’s namesake line is pure, wearable fantasy. He places self-expression and design quality before branding or logos, and enjoys working with decadent, feminine materials like silk and tulle. His looks also have narrative. His most recent collection, which showed during New York Fashion Week in February, transposed into couture the life and loneliness of a ballerina who lives in an exquisite music box.
Similarly, Gaga’s bodysuit was culled from a fairytale. “Her look is actually the finale from my debut,” Wiederhoeft explains. “I called that collection ‘Spooky Couture’ and each look had a backstory. It was all about wizards and princesses, knights and dragons.” It was magic indeed: Knights in taffeta and cotton blouses paired with quilted skirts with inlaid crystals; princesses in structured silk dresses with accents of silver tulle. “This particular look is called the dragon,” Wiederhoeft says of the “Stupid Love” piece. “She’s the final boss at the end. Beautiful and powerful. So I love that it was pulled for the video. It makes sense to me: Gaga embodies a fierce pink dragon coming to save the day.”
Gaga makes any look her own, especially in her music videos, which tend to set the tone for her creative work moving forward. She took pieces from Alexander McQueen’s spring/summer 2010 collection, which was filled with shining snakeskin prints and untenably high heels, and placed them in her gritty “Bad Romance” video, which solidified the singer as an avant-pop provocateur. She and her team have done the same in “Stupid Love,” making Wiederhoeft’s yesteryear fantasy fit perfectly within a decidedly futuristic music video. When worn under a black leather vest, it gives Gaga the impression of a bubblegum-chewing punk.
“The collection the dragon piece is from has a very old school, ballet world vibe. I designed it with a huge tulle robe and dragon horns,” Wiederhoeft says. “But I love seeing how people reinterpret my clothes, so for Gaga to match it with a biker jacket and raver boots and that face mask is amazing. I think magic happens when people create their own version of the story.”
Lady Gaga has gone through many stylistic shifts throughout her career: a pop wunderkind in latex corsets and enough rhinestones and glitter to fill any Lower East Side dive bar; a rule-breaker in meat dresses, birthing herself from a human-sized egg; or most recently a high-fashion darling taking over the Met Gala and receiving an Oscar in custom couture. The latter reflected her reality as an Academy Award nominee: refined, classic, in white and navy Dior one-offs with respectable updos and Tiffany & Co. jewelry. She hadn’t released new music since 2018, and there hadn’t been a solo album since 2016’s country-tinged Joanne; The release of “Stupid Love,” now that she has her little gold man, marks a return to what she arguably does best: being an apex underground fashion icon.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Wiederhoeft says, “to see Gaga return like this. For me, that style and energy from back in the day is what made me drawn to her. That idea that it doesn’t matter what you wear, it’s how you wear it. And that’s a big part of ‘Stupid Love’ now.” And while a stamp of approval from Lady Gaga can be a career-maker for emerging designers and stylists vying for visibility — Brandon Maxwell was the singer’s personal stylist before founding his eponymous fashion house — her own iconic looks could not be achieved without the unique visions of young creatives. “There are no big brands, no big designers. She doesn’t need to rely on names or logos. It’s about confidence. It’s all cool, small labels. So it feels really empowering.”