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Exclusive: The Scoop on Lady Gaga’s David Bowie-Inspired Grammy Beauty Looks


Lady Gaga pulled out all the stops for her electrifying tribute to David Bowie at Monday’s Grammy Awards. (ICYMI: the star kicked off her performance by having iconic Bowie images projected onto her face while she sang “Space Oddity.” And that was just the beginning.) And her Bowie-esque beauty looks were weeks in the making, her makeup artist Sarah Tanno tells PeopleStyle exclusively. Find out how to re-create her bold blue “Life on Mars?”-inspired eyes, and more details of her out-of-this-world transformation, below.

Lady Gaga Grammy Awards Red Carpet
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Just two weeks before the Grammys, it was announced that the 29-year-old artist would perform a “multi-sensory” homage to the rock star, who passed away in January after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Makeup pro Tanno spent that time fine-tuning various Bowie-influenced ideas. “I went through videos and books to study the looks and break them down before we had our big day. “Gaga and Tanno ultimately decided to highlight some of the rock star’s most memorable looks, among them, his Aladdin Sane album cover, his “Life on Mars?” video makeup and his Ziggy Stardust character.

Courtesy Sarah Tanno

Gaga’s red carpet appearance, was inspired by Bowie’s “Life on Mars?” music video. “I wanted to go glam rock all the way, but still do something very sexy and fun,” says Tanno.

After prepping the star’s face with a Sephora Collection Honey Mask and moisturizer, she was ready to re-create Bowie’s vibrant blue eye look. Tanno started by tracing Sephora Collection Contour Eye Pencil 12Hr Wear Waterproof in 29 My Boyfriend’s Jeans, an “electric blue” shade, around the eyes to create the right shape. Once she had that down, “everything fell into place from there,” says Tanno, who then filled in Gaga’s lids with Surfer Babe, a “peacock blue” eyeliner, as well as eye shadow, blending the shades to create depth. She applied Sephora Collection Contour Matte Gel Eyeliner Waterproof in Navy Baby at the waterline “to give a concise, matte definition to the eyes” then swept on Sephora Collection Outrageous Volume-Dramatic Volume Mascara. “To take the look to the next level, I added Swarovski crystal embellishments,” Tanno says.

Courtesy Sarah Tanno

RELATED PHOTOS: Grammys 2016: The Most Outrageous Looks of the Night

“I loved watching the makeup transform,” says Tanno, who called the process “emotional.” And Gaga shared glimpse into just how emotional it was, posting a video on Instagram of herself tearing up during her makeup prep while Bowie’s new song “Blackstar” played in the background.

Kevin Winter/WireImage; Courtesy Sarah Tanno

For Gaga’s stage look, Tanno opted for a contoured beauty design that wouldn’t compete with the singer’s high-tech opening number, during which some of Bowie’s iconic looks (including his Aladdin Sane album cover (which Gaga had tattooed on her left side two days ahead of the Grammys) were projected onto her face.

Kevin Mazur/WireImage; Courtesy Sarah Tanno

“Bowie did an amazing job of contouring and blending his face. The beautiful pinks and reds he used to contour his skin was such a signature, I had to bring that into the look, says Tanno. “I learned a lot from the process. I’m really happy with the result. It feels very authentic.”

The duo’s collaboration was nothing short of several weeks of pure fun says Tanno, who calls Gaga her “creative soulmate.”

“We’re a team. We dream up everything together and I feel so lucky to have her as my inspiration in my art, and as a friend.”

What was your favorite Bowie-inspired beauty look that Gaga wore? Share below!

–Jackie Fields