"House of Gucci" was snubbed in many Oscars categories this year, but the academy took note of the film's standout hair and makeup looks with a nomination.
Bringing the film's characters to life through their hair was stylist Frederic Aspiras, 45, who spent a lot of time researching and imagining what Patrizia Reggiani's hair would look like over the course of three decades.
"This project was a big undertaking," Aspiras told "Good Morning America." "We prepared for this film almost a year before we started going into production."
Working with Lady Gaga
Aspiras, who has also been Lady Gaga's personal hairstylist for almost 15 years, said "House of Gucci" was the biggest film he and the pop star have worked together on so far.
In the past, Aspiras has transformed Lady Gaga for several of her music videos, styled the wig she wore for her iconic Met Gala look at CAMP: Notes on Fashion in 2019, and even worked with her for roles in "American Horror Story" and "A Star is Born."
"Our friendship goes beyond work," Aspiras said about his relationship with Lady Gaga. "It's quite like a family. I consider her so much like my little sister and she is such a beautiful soul. It's such a beautiful friendship to have."
For "House of Gucci," Aspiras said he worked with Gaga's goal and vision for wanting to tackle the role of Reggiani with authenticity and "truth to Italian heritage." However, Aspiras said it was hard getting started because there weren't many photos of Reggiani to draw from.
So, the hairstylist said he drew inspiration from Italian films of the '70s and '80s, such as those directed by Federico Fellini and Luchino Visconti, and famous Italian actresses of the time to recreate the sort of hair that an Italian woman would have during that period. One actress in particular who he stumbled upon that he felt resembled Reggiani's physical characteristics was Gina Lollobrigida, whom he referenced a lot to achieve Reggiani's look for the film.
Overall, Aspiras said $10,000 was spent on Gaga's wigs for the film and there were about 54 looks he put together for the film.
A love letter to his mother
While Aspiras' intense research of Italian hair consisted of what he found from old films and actresses of the time, he also said his inspiration for the hair in the film was his mother, Susie L. Nguyen.
Nguyen, who was a refugee from Vietnam, became a hairstylist in the U.S. and started her own hair salon in the early '90s. It was at his mother's salon that Aspiras learned how to do hair.
"A lot of this movie I dedicate to my mom because a lot of the movie required hairstyles that were of her time," Aspiras said. "Also, the hairstyles remind me of my mom's hair."
For Aspiras, channeling his mother's hair for the film was unexpected but special. In June 2020, a few months before "House of Gucci" began filming, Nguyen died after a battle with cancer.
Earlier this month, while receiving an award during an event for Joico -- a company he's worked with for years -- at Beverly Hills' Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura, Aspiras said that "House of Gucci" is a "love letter to his mother."
"Every time I watch the movie, it's like continuing my love for her through art," he said. "And it's beautiful because I get to share that with everyone in the world."
Making Oscars history
If Aspiras wins the Oscar, he would be the second person of Asian descent to win in the makeup and hairstyling category and the first Vietnamese Filipino to win specifically for hairstyling.
Makeup artist Kazu Hiro has won the Academy Award twice -- for "Darkest Hour" in 2017 and "Bombshell" in 2019.
"It means so much to me," Aspiras said about his historic nomination. "Even more so now that I've found out that I'm the first Asian American hairdresser to ever receive this -- which is quite an honor in itself."
The feat is something Aspiras said he isn't taking lightly and said he hopes to use his platform to shine a light on the Asian American community.
"I want to change the stereotypes of what Asian Americans could accomplish," Aspiras said. "There are so many successful, talented Asian Americans in media behind the camera ... and I want to make sure that we bring light to a lot of the industry leaders that have paved the way before us."
"Hopefully I can inspire any young adults out there that are dreaming to do what I do," he added, remembering how there weren't other Asians he could look up to as a kid. "Now, I feel like I deserved my seat at this table and I want anyone to sit at my table."