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December 9, 2011

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Lady Gaga: 'I still believe in Santa and the Easter Bunny'

IN the litany of descriptive phrases that have been - and can be - applied to Lady Gaga, there's one that's easy to overlook: New Yorker. The pop goddess and Upper West Sider had the trait on full display in late November as she discussed the city and the holidays with Women's Wear Daily amid the Technicolor merchandise of Gaga's Workshop, the fifth-floor boutique at Barneys New York that is her own twist on the New York holiday routine.

Dressed in a very large Chanel gown and looking undaunted by the cartoonish installations that surrounded her (designed by Eli Sudbrack and Christophe Hamaide Pierson of Assume Vivid Astro Focus), Gaga displayed an earnest appreciation for the holiday season.

Shoppers looking for their own such mug can find a Swarovski-enhanced version for US$695 in the accessories department; there is also a US$65 nonbejeweled version. (In the spirit of the season, 25 percent of all sales will go toward Gaga's anti-bullying initiative, the Born This Way Foundation.)

Q: Did you have favorite New York holiday traditions growing up?

A: Going to Rockefeller Center, seeing the tree. Just watching the snow fall in Central Park. A carriage ride around the Plaza. All sorts of things. Just walking around Madison Avenue at this time is an amazing experience. What we did here at Barneys was try to bridge the spirit of Madison Avenue with the spirit of downtown New York pop punk culture and create a space with a range of prices, from very affordable to expensive, but all geared toward the Born This Way Foundation.

Q: Do you have a favorite?

A: The hair bows. I also very much love the cookies and the chocolate McQueen armadillo heels. And this stocking right here, I love so much.

Q: The stiletto stocking, in black patent leather?

A: Yeah. Well, I love them all. They're all modeled after the different shoes I wear. There's so many things for everyone. There's press-on nails. There's sunglasses. There's amazing jewelry made by fans. We commissioned the fans to bring their jewelry here to sell at the store. We have boxes of Little Monsters. There're cookies that look like my outfits. There're magnets that are dress-up Gaga dolls.

Q: Are you into Christmas ?

A: Yeah, I am. And the fans are making me so happy being here. Honestly, this would not be possible without them. Yes, I have fun fashion ideas and have a knack for trinkets, but the truth is if the love of the fans didn't mean something powerful from a cultural standpoint, coming to Barneys to buy Gaga presents wouldn't mean anything. They represent a beautiful message. The message of "Born This Way" runs through everything they stand for.

Q: What was Christmas like in your household?

A: My mom and dad used to leave cookies for Santa. My sister and I would run down the stairs in the morning and Santa had always taken a couple of bites, but he'd leave a little and drink all the milk. There were presents waiting for us. My mom would make a quiche and we would hang out all morning and open presents. My grandparents would come over and we would listen to Christmas music and make dinner and watch the snow fall outside. And that was Christmas at my house - very family oriented.

Q: Christmas mass?

A: Of course. Christmas Day, sometimes Christmas Eve.

Q: What's on your list this year?

A: I already got it. I'm going to be with my family. I had a wonderfully successful year with "Born This Way." We sold 7 million albums so far worldwide; it's only been out for five months. And I got my first ever custom Chanel by Karl Lagerfeld.

Q: When did you stop believing in Santa Claus?

A: I still believe in Santa. He's for sure around. He and the Easter Bunny. I've hung out with them and Jesus Christ a few times.

Q: What was the conversation?

A: They're just all really good friends. They all do good things for humanity.

?2011 The New York Times (Distributed by NYT Syndicate.)


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