Of the many labels pegged to Lady Gaga—pop star, fashion icon, provocateur—here's one title you might not expect to see on her résumé: creative director at Polaroid. The "Bad Romance" superstar teamed with the camera and eyeware company this time last year, and at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday, we finally got to see the fruits of this unlikely collaboration.
As part of a new suite of products called Grey Label, Gaga and Polaroid unveiled a digital camera with a throwback design and, most impressively, a set of camera sunglasses with two embedded 1.5" LCD displays. The glasses (pictured) act as a wearable camera, and can snap pictures, be pre-loaded with slideshows and video, and are meant to enable real-time photo sharing.
To develop the products, Gaga worked closely with Polaroid and design firm Ammunition LLC, known for developing the popular Beats by Dr. Dre headphones. Here's how that collaboration played out.
"She is fairly involved with the process," explains Robert Brunner, creative director of Ammunition, who says the pop star would brainstorm ideas, participate in meetings, and provide feedback on models and designs. "She takes it very personally—she really feels this stuff is a representation of her. She has ideas coming from her ethos and perspective. So how do we turn that into a strong viable product design?"
Nothing is more Gaga-esque than the camera sunglasses, with their hyperbolic design and "almost goggle-ish" lens. The camera sits atop the bridge of your nose while the displays land just below your line of sight—yes, you can still see with the sunglasses on. "With the effect of the oversize lens, they look to the person on the otherside like your eyes," says Brunner. "That really came from Gaga—from her video for 'Poker Face,' with the glasses that say 'pop culture.' She wanted to build that into a product."
Brunner's team went through several early models before landing on the right design:
"We went through a lot of development," says Brunner. "We tried to determine the best way to do create a product that was actually accessible to people."
The sunglasses are not the only product Gaga unveiled Thursday. Also showcased as part of Grey Label was a new Polaroid camera that is a throwback to its iconic designs of yore—a camera that brings to mind a time before the company's infamous failed transition to the digital age.
Despite its look, the camera is digital—all of 12 megapixels—and brings together features that we used to love from Polaroid products: instant image printing with Zero Ink's technology. But don't think this is a company stuck trying to relive its glory days. This camera design has undergone a major overhaul, and now features a sleek underside with large LCD display that swivels. No word yet on pricing for either of the products, which Polaroid said would be out "later this year."
"So much time has gone by that to a lot of younger people, Polaroid doesn't have meaning like it does for those who remember it from its heyday," says Brunner. "But that equity is still there—and we're developing a whole series of products to help them reclaim that territory."
With this latest round of products and branding from Lady Gaga, we'd say Polaroid is on its way to being The Fame Monster.
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