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Gathering two of music’s most eccentric (and eccentrically dressed) personalities in one room at a restaurant known as a cross-dresser paradise is a recipe for spontaneous personality combustion — especially when the two in question are Lady Gaga and Cyndi Lauper at Lucky Cheng’s in Manhattan.
It’s a sartorial match made in heaven (or, for some, that other place) — Lauper, who rose to fame in the Eighties as much for her outrageous getups and rainbow-hued hair as for her number-one records, and Gaga, who wears everything from a hair bow made of her own hair to Giorgio Armani Privé. It’s also a meeting to talk about sex: specifically, the ad campaign for the MAC AIDS Fund, where the two have teamed up. Both women are expected to make personal appearances on behalf of the initiative.
“People think if you’re strong about your sexuality, you must have a d--k,” says Gaga unapologetically. “And that’s what this is about. You can be strong about your sexuality and be a smart woman who wears lipstick and high heels and looks pretty.”
On this day, she’s clad in a sparkly Marc Jacobs bustier, nude fishnets and a pair of six-inch platform heels — and announces proudly that she had an AIDS test two days before. Lauper, music’s original girl who just wants to have fun, is clad almost conservatively in a black jacket, black skinny pants and black ankle boots, and is positively maternal toward her young charge, making sure she has a cup of tea and calling her Booboo. The outrageous Gaga, 23, obviously finds the daughter role comfortable.
Mother and daughter they may not be, but Lauper definitely paved the way for Gaga’s getups — and Gaga obviously appreciates it. “Everyone was saying I looked like a crazy trannie, and I was like, ‘Thank you,’” says Gaga. “Then when I met her for the first time, Cyndi saw me in the hallway and said, ‘You look great, kid. Take no prisoners.’ She understood me.”
“We lucked out,” says Lauper. “When we met each other, we liked each other and are interested in the same type of things. We laugh about similar things.”
And both obviously worship offbeat footwear. “I used to waitress in these shoes,” Gaga says, gesturing to her footwear, which has what looks like stacks of gum balls for heels. Lauper exclaims, “Get out!”