Lady Gaga’s Amazon-exclusive makeup collection, released under the moniker ‘Haus Laboratories,’ was made available for pre-order during Prime Day’s festivities. The news comes amidst calls for a national boycott of Amazon purchases and a worker led warehouse strike, which certainly puts the release in an uncomfortable light! As for the company itself, its seemingly rebellious slogan “Our House, Your Rules” is plastered on the main page. It’s description similarly claims that the line exists to “inspire you to write your own beauty rules.” Let’s see about that!
Despite the hype surrounding the launch, the initial collection consists of six main product sets with matching pairs of three lipstick, lipliner, and lipgloss duos:
- HAUS of Rose Bitch
- HAUS of Rockstar
- HAUS of Goddess
- HAUS of Chained Ballerina
- HAUS of Metalhead
- HAUS of Dynasty.
The colors, albeit underwhelming, are certainly the antithesis of the modern “nude” look that’s infected the greater “beauty guru” community. More than anything, I’m shocked that Gaga has returned to her Downtown Days as an edgy keyboard carrier in leather and ripped denim! And on the topic of “Chained Ballerina,” what exactly does the name refer too? The language and color way summons the illusion of a ballerina with crust-punk aspirations chained to a tortured life of point shoes. Haunting!
The “Glam Attack Liquid Lip Shimmer Duos” match the “vibe”—a word used often in the marketing materials—of the main collection. From right to left, the colors are “Downtown Punk,” “Give ‘Em Heaven,” and “Speed Queen.” Kat Von D must be shaking that she has a new competitor in the alt-rock makeup naming space!
In stark contrast, the lipglosses offered are relatively tame in both name and color selection. Each comes as a duo, with titles like Hypocrite, Laced, Seductress, Venus, Blaze, Scream, and Entranced. I can only imagine the blood of Too Faced executives running cold at the latest entrants in the Lip Gloss Thunderdome! Lastly, there’s a line of lipliners that are both too mundane to screenshot and easily found on any NYX display at your local Walgreens.
Haus Laboratories asserts the oft-repeated language of the beauty industry that self love and acceptance are found in our purchasing habits. When the hollow, queer messaging baked into the marketing materials is targeted at Lady Gaga’s largely gay audience, the move is particularly hypocritical. “Haus” was brought into the mainstream when ballroom culture found visibility in the ‘80s (through a similar act of theft with Madonna’s “Vogue.”) Asking consumers to “speak your truth” through the act of makeup is an ill-timed callback to the drag language that permeated the recently ended Pride Month. One—I might add—similarly besieged by corporate messaging. To roll out such a hollow ghost of “queer aesthetics” while effectively crossing a picket line only reinforces the strangeness of this collaboration. What, if any, were the benefits of creating an Amazon-exclusive collection? It seems antithetical to the politics of her fan base and the progressivism that threaded through much of her career.
In conclusion: I feel nothing! (Except for the ghost of the Chained Ballerina, who I love.) But as most things go, Hailey Bieber will eventually sort out her makeup trademark and we’ll be on to the next celebrity-backed beauty line in no time.