By Clara Hogan
The looks Lady Gaga debuts to the world never disappoint. As undoubtedly one of the boldest style icons of her generation, every single one of Gaga’s public appearances takes enormous effort, planning, and thought. Behind each iconic outfit the multi-grammy singer throws our way is a dedicated team that helped her dream it up and source each and every piece, head to toe.
Marta Del Rio is a stylist for Gaga who has partnered with the singer to create ensembles for events, music videos, performances, and photo shoots. Styling Gaga, for obvious reasons, isa dream job for someone in fashion. Del Rio gracefully fulfills the coveted role by pushing for grandeur while exuding humbleness and kindness to the designers and artists she works with, all values important to Gaga herself. Del Rio has made a name for herself throughout the entertainment industry not only for her talent, but for her ability to build networks and discover new artists.
If you’re in fashion, having Del Rio land in your inbox is the big break you’ve dreamed of. She’s known to take her hunt for the next great artist seriously, scrolling Instagram tags, flipping through magazines, digging into art school websites, and other means necessary to find the most unique makers out there. She’ll give a recent grad as much of a chance as someone who’s worked with A-list celebrities—and maybe even more.
Speaking with some of the artists who’ve had the chance to make something for Gaga, they credit Del Rio’s thoughtfulness — and beyond anything, her kindness — for making the opportunity to work for the singer not just good exposure, but an ideal creative process that makes them feel respected.
“When Marta approaches you, it feels big — it is big,” said Lance Victor Moore, who crafts custom metal attire from dresses to face masks. When Del Rio reached out to him with a long, thoughtful email complimenting his work and asking if he’d like to work together, he cleared his schedule for an opportunity of a lifetime.
While the San Francisco-based artist had designed for “cute c-list celebs” before and locals in SF, Gaga was the first real national exposure he had. “Marta knew I was new to the industry, and she didn’t want it to be overwhelming or stressful for me. She helped me understand the business,” he said. “I asked a lot of stupid questions, and she answered them in a true desire to help.”
Del Rio believes deeply that every artist deserves respect, whether they’re industry legends or just starting out. She targets the undiscovered, especially young people, because she says they’re usually the ones creating the most authentic and creative pieces since they haven’t yet succumbed to the pressure of the industry.
“I try to treat all designers the same, whether I am talking with the Alexander McQueen team, or a recent graduate," Del Rio told Metal Magazine. "I share the same information, use the same language and treat them in the same way in order to collaborate with them. I think respect in the industry is key and, no matter how big or small someone is, their creative work should be treated with respect and responsibly."
Born in Spain, Del Rio has lived in Italy, England, New York, and currently resides in Los Angeles. Her career path leading to her current title of creative consultant, designer, and stylist started studying Fashion Design at Parsons, a prestigious New York school where the likes of Tom Ford and Marc Jacobs got their starts. Getting into the queer nightlife scene in New York introduced her to creatives who would go on to be some of the most successful in the industry. She did a slew of internships, from being an assistant stylist at Moda Operandi to working backstage during New York Fashion Week.
After graduating, she had her eyes on the work of industry legend Nicola Formichetti, a fashion director born in Japan who is among the most accomplished in his field. Through his agency Studio Formichetti, he's served as a creative director and stylist for Gaga for years, including getting to claim responsibility for her iconic "meat dress” moment. He also has a streetwear line, Nicopanda. While he didn’t have any internships or jobs posted, that didn’t stop Del Rio from reaching out to offer to work for free while she found a job.Turns out that Nicopanda was starting a new lifestyle department, and they hired her on the spot to intern there. Eventually she was hired as a full-time employee to work on all types of projects, which is when she started to work with Gaga. Del Rio has styled countless looks for Gaga alongside Formichetti, including her ensembles in music videos for Stupid Love and Rain on Me.
"I am working with Nicola Formichetti day to day. I assist with everything from production to styling. Sometimes I get to consult a little bit with clients, which is really fun. And, of course, we got to work on [Lady] Gaga's Enigma [Vegas Residency]," she told Paper Magazine. "The sky's the limit with him. I've learned so much from him and I've learned that to be a fashion designer you don't have to follow the traditional route."
Del Rio has also branched out on her own, styling other celebrities like Olivia Rodrigo.
For Moore and countless others who’ve had Del Rio reach out, working with her has been a game changer. A life changer, really. Moore has now styled four different looks for Gaga, and each time has been a “dream experience” in which Del Rio makes sure artists are properly credited and paid. The work with Gaga has led to consistent and high-level jobs, including in several music videos, and being featured in publications like Vogue.
“Marta’s a sweet person, but she’s also very direct. She really knows what she wants, which I appreciate,” Moore said. “In Hollywood and the music industry, the way Marta interacts with people is not the norm. The norm is for people to get whatever they can get out of a situation, and if anyone gets any scraps left, good for them — but if they don’t, they just weren’t hungry enough. Marta is kind, and kindness in this industry is more rare than the biggest diamond.”
Here’s a look at some of the artists Del Rio has elevated to Gaga’s platform.
Laurel Dewitt: Metal & Chain Queen
Earning the title "the queen of chain and metal," in addition to Gaga, Dewitt has styled for Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, and more.
Gary Fay: ‘Articulated Fingers’ Maker
Known for his huge, movable “articulated fingers,” Fay creates each piece in his head and then 3D prints them for celebrities, film drictors, haunted attractions, special effects artists, and more.
Miho Okawara: Japanese Nail Artists
Okawara takes nail art to the next level who said it was always a goal to have Lady Gaga wear one of her designs. “It was a great, fast-paced, and amazing collaboration. They gave me the freedom to design whatever came out of my imagination because they believed in my skills as a designer and artisan. I'm grateful to Marta, Gaga and her entire team to bring me on board and let me create the "QueenDom Look".
Frederic Aspiras: Hairstyle and Wig Designer
Lady Gaga has served up amazing Chromatic hair colors over the years, largely thanks to Aspiras.
Lacey Dalimonte: Body suit designer
Dalimonte creates iconic and extravagent body suits for performers, from corsets to metal to colorful materials, that are perfect for concerts.
Gregory Kara: Metal headwear maker
Kara has become known for his incredible metal headpieces, made for costume designers, celebs, and editorial features. He’s also famous for creating Madanna's eye patches.
Miodrag Guberinic: Costume designer
Known for larger than life ensembles, from neck pieces to full body gowns, this New York based designer and artisan has made pieces for singers, TV shows, and Broadway productions.
Lance Victor Moore:
A San Francisco-based designer that creates metal facewear.
German kabirski: Jewelry designer
An artisan that focuses on peculiar designs, rough cuts, raw and precious stones, sourced and bought directly.
Follow Marta Del Rio on Instagram (@from_theriver).