I froze, hangers in hand, recognizing the voice—a husky non-accent, each syllable tenderly enunciated—before I saw her face. No, no way could I be shopping at the same store as…
"Lady Gaga," she said in a matter-of-fact tone, after I whipped around in shock. Extending a long taloned hand, each nail encrusted with swirls of ruby crystals, she continued, "Now that we’re acquainted, let me help you, because you need it. We’re at the best vintage store on the Lower East Side and you’re choosing between a pair of identical black dresses."
Gulping, I accepted the handshake and took in her outfit: a skintight bodysuit, in the same shocking shade as her manicure, that appeared to have been woven on her body from long shiny ribbons. (Perhaps by Nicola Formichetti‘s nimble hands?) Cinching her waist was a protruding hoop skirt with a glittering fuchsia trim. Made of stiff fabric, it reminded me of Saturn’s orbiting ring—were Saturn a pop star and not a planet. I swallowed, my mouth dry, and attempted to speak.
"Well, I’m going to Blue Hill for my friend’s birthday," I stammered. "I wanted something kind of timeless…maybe something I’d want to wear again?"
She squinted and looked me up and down, slowly and scornfully, sneering like Jo Calderone at the 2011 VMAs. Turning to the rack behind her, she removed a silver lamé mini and shook it at me.
"And ’90s Versace isn’t timeless?" she asked in a dangerously quiet tone. Returning the skirt to its spot, she grabbed a metallic bouclé shift and waved it emphatically. "Or gen-u-ine Cha-nel?"
Before I could finish, she carefully laid the piece on a nearby sofa and pulled a silk maxi off of a mannequin. "ARE YOU SAYING, YOU WOULDN’T WEAR HALSTON TWICE?!" Her eyes burned like fiery torches wielded by angry villagers as the cascading folds of fabric twisted beneath her fingers. She began to saunter toward me, her weird horizontal hip piece waggling from side to side, with the intent gaze of a tiger stalking its kill. I had the distinct impression that if the dress and I didn’t meet, then I’d become a dress made out of meat. Nervous, I began to back up, hands raised, in the direction of the changing area.
Once safely ensconced in a fitting room, I pulled the velvet curtain between us, peeked around and anxiously spewed words: "I’ll give it a try! Toss ‘er in! Can’t hurt, right? Good idea, Gaga!" Expression contorted with rage, Mother Monster crept closer.
Stopping just inches from my face, so close that I could see every diamond sewn into her eyelash extensions, she dropped the garment and began to laugh maniacally, convulsing harder than she did in her "Paparazzi" video.
"Gotcha!" she said, mischievously smiling at my confusion. "But I still don’t think you should settle for black. Try that instead." She gestured to a dark navy dress hanging by the three-way mirror, as if it had been waiting for me the whole time. Label-less, it had a dropped waist and ruffle skirt and was—dare I say it—timeless and something I’d want to wear again.
Giving her a suspicious look, I nodded and faced the wall to slip it on. When I spun back around, beaming, she was gone. A little perplexed, I headed to the cash wrap and asked the salesgirl about my celebrity sighting. She stared at me vacantly, blinked and shook her head as if she doubted my sanity. When I left the store a few minutes later, Gaga’s pick purchased and tucked in my tote, I began to do the same.
Around the same time I wrote off the experience as a murky hallucination brought on by too many mimosas at brunch, I wore the navy dress to my friend’s birthday dinner. There I was, in the middle of graciously accepting my 10th compliment of the night, when I spotted a girl at the bar in a silvery skirt. From where I stood, just 15 feet away, I could tell the material was lamé. And it looked a lot like Versace. Heart in my throat, I cut my conversation short and approached her.
"I just love your skirt! Where on earth did you get it?"
"Well," she began with excitement, like she’d been waiting to tell this story all night, "it’s not so much where I bought it, but who was there when I did…"
Sorry, my Gaga-approved dress is one-of-a-kind! But I think she’d give this Kenzo design the thumbs up, too:
RUFFLED COTTON-JACQUARD MINI DRESS, $735, KENZO, MY.LUCKYMAG.COM
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