You've seen it in the passenger seat of James Corden's car, SNL's stage, it accompanied her on every leg of her Dive Bar Tour, and now it's front and center on the cover of her Joanne album.
Lady Gaga's hat is famous.
So who made it? Good question.
Gladys Tamez is no newcomer to the industry. After pulling the plug on her clothing line when the economy crashed in 2009, she and her then-fiancé found themselves at a hat maker's shop in "a very tiny town" in Spain. "They made the hats for cardinals, bull fighters, police—lots of different types," she explained. "And I fell in love with the craft."
"At first, I was just making hats for my friends out of my house while I was in school learning, but my business grew fast."
"With Gaga, I first went to her house years ago and I've been making hats for her ever since," noted the tastemaker. "We started with caps. It's been an evolution."
"I was working on a collection for spring/summer 2017 exclusively in pastels when Gaga requested some hats. When we spoke about it, she said pink was her favorite color and that's how we started. Then we talked ideas," said Gladys. But there was never any talk about the hat becoming the genesis of the album. That part came later, and without much warning.
The first step when it comes to creating any hat is measuring the head (fun fact: Gaga has a small head—22.5 inches—which is considered average to the hat maker). Next, Gladys drafts up the body, or shell, design. Once a material is chosen ("we work with beaver—beaver blend and rabbit"), you need to shave it depending on how soft you want the hat. "It can take up to eight hours per hat. Then you choose the mold, but what we do here is sculpture," the designer explained. "We freehand the sculpture. We use molds, but as more of a base than to add structure."
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The hat was made and in the musician's hands months before the album came out. But it wasn't until 24 hours before the album artwork was complete that Gaga picked up the phone, called Gladys and said, "Are you ready? Are you sitting down?"
And the rest is (musical) history...until the designer turned out a six-figure version of the iconic hat covered in Swarovski crystals for Gaga to wear during her Victoria's Secret Fashion Show performance.
As we continued to chat, Gladys gave us some deets on the first hats she ever created for some other big (read: major) celeb clients.
"I met Johnny Depp through mutual friends. The first hat we did with him was what he wore when he performed with The Black Keys at the 2012 MTV Awards," she told us. "We called it 'The 205,' but people started calling us from around the world asking for 'The Johnny Hat' so we started calling it that."
Queen Bey's first was "a straw hat because she was going on vacation in Hawaii. She wanted a really wide brim, so we got the straw from Ecuador. It was 'The Bianca' hat, which is '70s-inspired—Jennifer Lopez also has this hat," recalled the designer. "I like calling it 'The Palapa' hat because in Spanish it's a type of shelter, and this hat covers you from shoulder-to-shoulder."
Side note: Beyoncé's stylist Marni also originally asked the hat maker to create the singer's larger-than-life Formation video hat. "We tried calling lots of places to see about getting the right-sized mold," she continued. "We called all around the world to find the wide brim. I was looking in Paris and, trust me, I wanted to make that hat. What ended up happening was someone actually drove to Mexico, got one of the charro hats and used it as the mold."
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Everyone's aware of just how private this singer-songwriter is—especially when it comes to showing her face in public. So when Gladys was asked to create something that covered Sia's precious mug, she accepted the challenge. "About two and a half years ago, I used to sew the [hair] extensions right into the hat. It was hours of work. It was unlike anything I'd ever done before and it was challenging. But I love a good challenge," said the designer.
Curious as to what the above hats might have cost? "It's not surprising for people to spend up to $9,000 on hats at a time, but it all depends on what type of hat and what it's made of," emphasized Gladys.
No matter how much you choose to spend on your own hat collection, the pro leaves you with this note: "You should wear the hat; the hat shouldn't wear you."