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Lady Gaga Taps Downtown Fashion House to Design 'Beautiful Hate Crime' Dress

By DNAinfo Staff on January 19, 2011 1:46pm

By Jordan Heller

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

FLATIRON DISTRICT — The avant-garde fashion label House of Diehl received an e-mail late Monday from one of Lady Gaga's stylists.

"Are you guys around? We need seven dresses for a video shoot by this Friday," the note read, according to Roman Milisic, one half of House of Diehl.

Mary Jo Diehl, the creative force and namesake behind House of Diehl and Milisic's wife, said, "No problem, we don't do ready-to-wear, we do ready-to-rumble!"

Turning around seven dresses in three days is a daunting, if not impossible, task. But for a small New York label like House of Diehl, getting your clothes in a Lady Gaga video is a huge break.

"Gaga can choose a dress by anybody in the whole world, and who else wears avant garde fashion?" said Milisic on Tuesday, from House of Diehl's live-work space on West 26th Street. "All of her clothes in her last video were from Alexander McQueen, so this is great!"

Milisic and Diehl don't have any details about the video, nor any guarantees that their outfits will be chosen for it. They know, though, that their garments will be among the options for a video from a song off Gaga's upcoming album, "Born This Way," which reportedly begins shooting next week.

Diehl said that some designers will pay $50,000 to $100,000 or more to have a star like Lady Gaga wear their clothes. The PR is priceless, so the duo have dropped everything to get the job done.

Two young fashion designers/garment makers, Buffi Jashanmal and Christine Brown, have been called in to lend a hand.

"Roman (Milisic) is like the MacGyver of fashion," said Diehl. "He can make a dress out of anything."

Milisic took photographs of his work so far and e-mailed them to Gaga's stylist for approval.

"If they say it's stupid, we've only wasted three hours," said Milisic.

Mid-afternoon Tuesday, confident in their concepts, it was time to gather materials. Brown, Jashanmal, an intern named Katerina, Milisic and Diehl gathered in something resembling a football huddle, with Milisic and Diehl acting as co-quarterbacks.

Brown and the intern were dispatched to local vintage clothing stores and H&M to look for acid-washed jeans; Jashanmal was sent downtown to look for old lamps in a used furniture store near Vandam and Sixth; and Diehl volunteered to scour what she called the chandelier district in Flatiron, for anything that would yield colored glass.

"It's like a scavenger hunt," said Milisic.

"It's like a military fashion mission," said Diehl.