By Stephan Rabimov, editor-in-chief of DEPESHA magazine.
The defining historical figures – always les enfants terribles – continue to write their radical manifestos, the mise-en-scene for our future. What awaits us, one and all? A bright utopia or the apocalypse? A question that perhaps more than sums up Nicola Formichetti’s contributions to fashion’s architectonic shifts between old and new. Formichetti, despite constant travel between Lady Gaga’s performances, Mugler’s offices in Paris, his home in New York, and Tokyo, where he is the fashion director of Vogue Homme Japan and Uniqlo, took a moment to share his vision of the future, how to remain creative under pressure, and why he doesn’t want to reinvent Lady Gaga.
In today’s world, where information gets disseminated so quickly, are fashion shows still relevant?
Yeah, of course. You can always be creative and try to do different things.
So you see it a positive future for the magazines.
Yeah, because a few months ago, I was like, ‘Magazine is dead.’ I used to be a big magazine junky and I stopped buying magazines because of the Internet. I started feeling a little bit flat and for me it became work…images, images, images, and it was very two dimensional.
In your vision, what is a perfect fashion magazine?
I don’t know, because for me, a magazine, on top of information and visuals and voices that you need to have, for me it is a place where people can be part of something that you’re into, so the perfect magazine should have that leadership, or be something more of a mother ship.
You were a child that was raised between continents, different cultures. Is there on moment in your childhood that marks your fascination with fashion?
Well, my fascination with fashion came from my mom. She was a Japanese woman living in Italy. So she was very fashion obsessed, and she loved Versace and Armani and Italian Vogue when I was younger. The center of Rome, shopping, looking at windows: I would like, wow, that is so amazing and totally be in awe of this glamorous lifestyle. At the same time, three days later, we would be in Japan, and I would be in a computer game store going nuts. For me, it was this contrast of one place and another.
And both of these places have clearly influenced your work when you became Creative Director of Mugler. In the world where a designer has to come out with a collection pre-Fall through Spring, Summer, etc., how do you remain creative? Is there too much of a commercial pressure?
Ideas always come. Also, I have lots of great collaborators around me, so it’s not always just me. There are always people around me that help me make stuff, and see ideas through to reality. The most amazing thing is the show went really well, and selling the pieces went amazingly. We did a great show, for both men and women – we introduced Rico [Rick Genest] and [Lady] Gaga modeled. And all my favorite stores like Barney’s and Dover Street and Opening Ceremony, they all bought the clothes. That was an amazing feeling.
Of all the outfits you have created for the famous Lady Gaga, is there one particular look that resonates the most with you?
Gaga is Gaga. She is who she is. We don’t want to reinvent her and reinvent her. For us, she loves the shoulders, she loves the heels, she loves the hats, you know, it’s sexy, that’s her. It’s more about reinterpreting that idea and evolving. So my favorite outfit? I cannot say, I don’t know. There are too many.
Have you been back to Japan since the devastating tsunami of 2011?
Yeah, I go there every month. It’s a really terrible thing that has happened, but the good thing, the outcome, is the attitude of younger people that changed completely. They are like, ‘Oh my god, we have to do something about it now.’
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
I get to do what I love and it’s pure fun. I don’t really get tired because I’m doing what I enjoy doing. Sometimes, traveling, I try to be fit within reason, I try to go to the gym and yoga, but nothing too frantic. New York definitely helps, because all my friends are like, Ok! Let’s go to the gym! But I meditate a lot, I’m really into Eastern medicine, herbs and acupuncture. That’s my Japanese side, I never get too stressed or too upset. I’m not like my Italian dad, I’m more like my mom. I always try to be centered and accepting of all.
Nicola Formichetti by Branislav Jankic © DEPESHA.com