When Jack Irving, an aspiring British designer in London, wanted Lady Gaga to check out his senior thesis collection, he simply emailed her. Six weeks later, the pop icon was spotted parading the streets of Paris in one of the 21-year-old’s designs — that legendary inflatable sea urchin ensemble. Not one to be shy about over-the-top fashion, she also strutted out in one of his jester-like headdresses and his iridescent “Alien Goddess” dress. I was impressed with his designs and his resourcefulness, so I decided to track him down, by tweeting him.
Yahoo Style: So what was the response when you emailed Lady Gaga?
Jack Irving: They got back to me within a day and said, ‘We absolutely love it. We love it, love it, love it!’ I couldn’t believe it.
YS: And then what happened?
JI: Well, that was kind of the weird scenario, because they were like, we love it, and they said they wanted to work with me and then, it went quiet. But it was already a dream come true – the fact that they knew I existed! And then, literally three weeks ago, I got an email from one of her team members asking if my work was available.
YS: Wow. That’s crazy. How involved was Lady Gaga in choosing what she wanted you to send?
JI: Well, obviously a lot of my pieces are ginormous. So, it was more a case of what can I send that can be boxed up. After negotiating with them, they sent me their three favorite options.
YS: Tell me about that famous crazy sea urchin outfit. How did you even start with idea of it and how did it blow up?
JI: I made these practice versions of beanbags taped together, and then when it worked, I decided that I’d make the real thing. The idea was that it goes from the gentle-ish creature to full-on sea urchin. In my mind, it had to be holographic because it had to be so glittery. So, I looked and looked and looked, and eventually this holographic fabric came out on the market. There’s about 22 meters of fabric in the dress, in the inflatable alone. And that makes up around 48 of the tentacles.
YS: And how did it inflate?
JI: Lady Gaga operated it herself with a switch. The dress should last inflated for around 17 to 20 minutes before the batteries die. It’s completely rechargeable.
YS: Will we be seeing more of Jack Irving’s looks in Gaga’s future? And are we going to see clothes that normal people can wear?
JI: I’d love to design Lady Gaga’s next world tour. That is probably my life dream. I absolutely love costume and extravagance and that is really my passion. If I really want to be honest, I’d mostly just stick to extreme. I love this idea of creating a fantasy that has a wearable element, like with corsets. I might create a corset collection. I’d love to work for Victoria’s Secret, though.
YS: So, if you created Angel wings for the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, what would they look like?
JI: Oh, they would be like laser-encrusted, glitter-firing, kind of insects, and probably multicolored. It could be anything with me! I just like looking at alien life forms. They’re a huge inspiration to my work. The thing for me is clashing aesthetics— so looking at scientific things and making them a bit glittery. You’re a bit confused, but it’s quite comical all at the same time.
YS: Which model would you want to wear your wings?
JI: Oh…I’d probably want to say Adriana Lima. It seems like she doesn’t take everything too seriously. She’s elegant but has this element of empowerment that she gives to the show. I love her.