She is pop’s undisputed queen of fashion and slays every time she steps out on the red carpet.
Yet playing the wronged wife who ordered the murder of Maurizio Gucci is sure to take Bad Romance singer Lady Gaga well out of her comfort zone.
For while her role as “Black Widow” socialite Patrizia Reggiani in movie House of Gucci will have its challenges, Gaga may have been unsettled at some of the parallels the two women share.
Chief of all, they are both renowned big spenders. Very big spenders.
Reggiani – or Lady Gucci, as she was known – sailed the Caribbean on a 200ft yacht and, at one point, was spending £9,000 a month just on orchids.
In words which could have come straight from Gaga’s own lips, the wife of the fashion heir once purred: “I would rather weep in a Rolls-Royce than be happy on a bicycle.”
Meanwhile Gaga, worth an estimated £230million, has properties around the world, 19 cars, a diamond encrusted iPad and once spent £36,000 on an “electromagnetic field reader” – to help her keep ghosts away as she performed on stage.
The superstar singer, who travels by private jet, has been known to make strange and extravagant backstage demands, including on one occasion a “mannequin with puffy pink hair”.
During the Monster Ball tour from 2009 to 2011, she would insist on her hotel room being kitted out with silver satin sheets and hung with posters of David Bowie, Queen and Elton John.
On top of that, it had to have white leather couches, yellow, lavender or white roses… and a steamer.
Reggiani – who married Maurizio in 1973, when they were both 24 – also had a penchant for colour, throwing regular themed parties where the clothes, décor, and food were all of a single hue, orange being her favourite.
Exuberant Gaga is known to call herself the “Queen of the Universe” – a revelation made in court papers after she was sued by former personal assistant and ex-best friend Jennifer O’Neill.
Reggiani too was defined by a need to be the centre of attention, her husband’s empire allowing her to command a global stage that even brought America’s Kennedy family into their circle.
Directed by Ridley Scott, the movie is based on the book The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by Sara Gay Forden.
It tells how Maurizio Gucci’s decision to divorce Reggiani, having left her after 12 years for a younger woman, led her to plot his death.
Forden said: “She always envisioned herself as La Senora Gucci. That had become her identity.
“When he divorced her that was the ultimate rejection – that was, in a way, a rejection of the piece of herself.”
Maurizio, 46, was shot dead on the steps of his office in March 1995.
After being convicted three years later of ordering the hit, Reggiani was asked why she had not shot him herself. She replied: “I didn’t want to miss.”
Perhaps the most striking thing Lady Gaga shares with the woman she plays on screen is a love of fashion.
Gaga, 34, has worn everything from pork chops to art installations – and was said to have been left “bankrupt” during part of her Monster Ball tour after spending nearly £2million on outfits.
As a part of the Gucci empire, Reggiani was known as the queen of the fashion world and, now aged 72, still loves stepping out in glamorous outfits.
Released in 2016 after serving 18 years of a 26-year jail sentence, she currently lives in Milan.
Yet Poker Face singer Gaga – nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her debut leading role in 2018’s A Star Is Born – has refrained from meeting with Reggiani to research her role.
Instead she has been studying hundreds of hours of interviews, documentaries and books about her.
That has brought criticism from Reggiani herself, who griped Gaga had not contacted her.
She said: “I’m annoyed that Lady Gaga is portraying me without even having the courtesy or the good sense to come and meet me.
“It’s nothing to do with money, because I won’t be taking a single cent from the film.
“It’s about respect. Any good actor should get to know the person they’re playing.
“I think it is not right that I wasn’t contacted. And I say this with all the appreciation that I have for her.” She added: “I will watch the film anyway. She looks like me.”
A source told the Sunday Mirror: “This film has been Gaga’s passion project for a long time. She is determined to perfect the role and has been working all hours to get her portrayal of Patrizia right.
“It was decided by producers that she wouldn’t meet Patrizia.
“Authorities at the time of the murder didn’t want journalists to interview her as they were afraid of giving her a platform. The same is said for now.
“The producers were very aware of not wanting to endorse or support the awful crime that Patrizia carried out.
“Instead Gaga has spent hours watching footage and documentaries and reading books about her life.”
The film has been more than 10 years in the making, with Angelina Jolie and Leonardo DiCaprio initially in the running to play the couple.
It is now going ahead with Adam Driver – Kylo Ren in Star Wars – in the role of Gucci, while Robert De Niro and Al Pacino also star.
Current Gucci president and chief executive officer Marco Bizzarri said the Italian luxury label had opened its archives and given “total creative freedom” to the production.
Gaga – real name Stefani Germanotta – shared a first-look photo of herself and Driver in character in the Alps this month.
She posted it on her Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages, where she has racked up a total of 180 million followers.
The crew have already completed filming in Rome and production has now moved to Milan, where Gucci was gunned down.
The trial of his ex-wife played out like a real-life soap opera, with Reggiani dubbed “Vedova Nera” – the Black Widow – and painted as a bitter, greedy, scorned woman who acted out of revenge and spite.
Despite confessing and serving time for her crime, Reggiani was still entitled to her divorce settlement.
That gives her an annuity of £900,000 a year from Gucci’s estate – and she also won a back-payment of £16million to cover her time in prison.
And while Gaga was taking on one of the fashion world’s most gripping dramas, she also faced a drama of her own – when her two French bulldogs were snatched by a gun gang who shot and injured her dog walker.
The singer put up a $500,000 “no questions asked” reward for the return of dogs Koji and Gustav after the harrowing attack last month was captured by a neighbour’s CCTV.
Jared Leto, who plays fashion designer Paolo Gucci in the new movie, said co-star Gaga was “doing OK” after the safe return of the dogs.
He said: “I mean, she got her dogs back. And that person that was watching the animals is doing better.”
It was a quirk of fate which gave yet another link between Gaga and the subject of her latest role.
Reggiani was left traumatised after her pet ferret Bambi – allowed to join her in prison – died when one of her fellow inmates sat on him.
Since leaving jail she has found a new companion – a macaw which was seen on her shoulder on a visit to Via Monte Napoleone, Milan’s equivalent of London’s Bond Street.
Reggiani visited the fashion quarter wearing dark sunglasses and lashings of gold jewellery soon after her release.
She can still be spotted around the city’s more upscale neighbourhoods with the pet parrot most weekends.
While Gaga has been researching her role, it seems inspiration may never have been far off.