"Introducing an emerging designer creating captivating leather fashions."
BEHIND THE SCENES #4: Nicola Formichetti
TWELV's Behind the Scenes takes a step back and visits the masterminds behind the camera. Read as we host interviews and explore the lives of artists who shape the final product - directors, fashion designers, stylists, hair stylists, makeup artists, and photographers.
“What’s important is to keep taking risks and trying new things, giving opportunities to new talents.”
You are considered one of the most influential creative forces working in fashion today. How does that feel?
My job feels more like hobby than a job, really; It’s always fun. I always try to do as much as possible to keep inspired and learn about new things. What’s important thing is to keep taking risks and trying new things, giving opportunities to new talentsthis is what is really important.
You are quite prolific and juggle many different projects across the globe; Where does this need to be “everywhere” come from?
Well, my parents were constantly flying, as my mother is a stewardess and my father a pilot, so I guess a part of this is my constant traveling; Also, It’s the way to keep finding new talent and new inspirationtraveling is a very important part of the inspiration process for many “creative”, I guess.
How was it to be born in Japan and to be raised in Rome? Did you try to assimilate both culture? How did they influence you and your work?
Yes I was always trying to assimilate both cultures, but London also influenced me a lot —That’s where I moved to study architecture but ended up being a club kid and then working for dazed and confused. All this together constitutes my background of mixing culture.
So, tell me, how did you get into fashion?
In my early 20’s, I used to be buyer for avantgarde London shop The Pinéal Eye, and then, Katy England of Dazed and confused asked me to be one of their fashion editors with the =eye spy= monthly column; then, I became the magazine’s fashion director in 2005.
What makes you like fashion so much?
What interests me about fashion is to destroy it in a way [and then] to recreative it — probably something I got from english punk subcultures. I also appreciate the possibilities you have in fashion to meet incredibly nice and creative people, and that you can always try new things. Fashion is a constant experimentation.
Before joining Mugler, what did you name evoke for you? Can you tell us about how you got the job at Mugler?
For me, Thierry Mugler is a fashion god. It was the perfect mix between technicality of fashion and the show, the big shows with all the supermodels, and the pop stars. A Thierry Mugler Show is beyond fashion — it’s entreatment. So when Mugler CEO Joel Palix called to ask me to become Mugler’s creative director, it was totally unexpected and I was not sure I could take over such a legacy, but after discussing the job offer with Lady Gaga, I decided to say yes!
How would you describe the new Mugler world?
The first thing we did was to change the name from Thierry Mugler to Mugler, to make a digital, global label for fashion — without frontiers. No borders, [neither] geographically nor creatively. Want to take fashion to the next level with Mugler. We have this amazing history and achieve but had to transform then into the digital world. The Mugler fashion vocabulary is still there; it’s updated into the digital fashion era.
In addition to Mugler, you also work with Uniqlo. What do you think of this tendency for great designer to democratize fashion by making affordable, Ready-to-Wear Collections? What does teaming up with Uniqlo mean for you?
I am all about democratization — this is what I’m doing when we livestreamed 24/7 from the Mugler studio three days before the menswear F/W 2012, 2013 show. We opened doors to what nobody else ever showed to the world before, because I want the kids on Facebook or Twitter or Weibo to be able to be part of it. Uniqlo has this genuine democracy of fashion in the way that heir apparel is willing to help people, with easy access and helpful products. This collaboration brings to me the possibility to see all different sides of fashion, giving me a wide range of approaches to making fashion.
We live in a very digital world right now. What do you think of all these social networks, blogging, etc.? Are they good for your work?
It’s good thing. It abolishes the barrier there used to be between the elite and the rest of the world; now everybody access any information and all doors are open for everyone — this is what’s great. In my work, I collaborate with everyone on the web, and I design, as a collaborative effort, digitally people located in all parts of the world. I’m not a elitist so I want to share what I’m doing with everyone; I remember that straight after the Mugler F/W 2011, 2012 women’s show. Gaga and I ran backstage to our computer and went on Twitter to read what the fans were saying. I did put a lot of energy in the different live streams of Mugler shows because I wanted the people in front of their computer screens to have a better seat than the people in the front row!
You will soon laughing your own brand. Can you tell me more about it? Is it going to be available everywhere?
For now, NicoPanda is about accessible t-shirts, jewelry, and other special pieces sold in temporary pop up stores all over the world and in select stores around the world, before the end of the year. It’s really about my alter ego NicoPanda, and it’s fun.
With so many projects in the works, how do you manage to find time to look for inspiration?
This is how I find my inspiration: By working with many, many, many different people from all over the world, from so many different fields of work, in so many different place, and for so many different projects. It keeps my mind open to new vision and brings me a constant flow of inspiration.
And how do find time for yourself? What do you like to do in your free time?
Actually, I love to use my free time to put together new ideas, so it’s kind work also, but I slide play piano. I was trained as a classical pianist as a child, so I still play for relaxation.
The theme of our issue is transformation. If you had the chance to transform into anything, what would you be?
[Laughs] Probably a panda!
Who would you like to transform into?
I think Gaga and I are already transforming her into many different characters during our collaboration together, and there’s, for sure, much more to come.∞
PHOTOGRAPHY: BRANISLAV JANKIC