Meet Mr. Gaga / The Stylist Nicola Formichetti

By Marcus Chang

Whether or not you know him by name, you’ll recognize the stylist Nicola Formichetti by his aggressively modern looks (Lady Gaga’s metal orb, anyone?). When it comes to his personal style, Formichetti attributes his unrestricted creativity to his multicultural upbringing, which was shared between Italy and Japan. Now 32, he lives in New York, London and Tokyo, and keeps himself busy working as the creative director of the London magazine Dazed and Confused, the fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan and as a stylist for advertising campaigns for Uniqlo, Dolce & Gabbana and Alexander McQueen, to name just a few. Before kicking off Lady Gaga’s “Monster Ball” tour in Montreal, T caught up with Formichetti to ask him about his career, inspirations and what it’s like to work with Gaga.

How did you start working in fashion, and what has your trajectory been?
In my early 20s, Dazed and Confused magazine gave me a small monthly column called “Eye Spy,” where I edited and highlighted things that I liked, took pictures and styled. Ten years later, I’m the creative director. I’m always trying new things, and so I never stay in one place. I like to move forward, which is why my career is made up of so many different parts: I direct magazines, I consult for fashion brands, I work with other artists, etc. I try to do as much as possible to keep inspired and learn about new things.

What do you like best about your job?
I like that it feels more like a hobby than a job. It’s always fun. I like working with photographers that I love, like Hedi Slimane, Steven Klein and Nick Knight.

Many people in the business have a love-hate relationship with fashion. Is there something you’re not so crazy about?
There’s way too much celebrity in fashion. I don’t really like working with celebrities, so I try to stay away from that whole machine. But of course I have met some incredibly nice and creative people who just happen to be a “celebrity.”

Your work with Lady Gaga has brought you a tremendous amount of recognition. The “Bad Romance” video even gets played in New York City taxis. How did you two start working together, and what has it been like?
I first met her at a photo shoot for V magazine. It was an instant love. I had always stayed away from celebrity and musicians before, but she was so different. Instantly we understood each other completely. We started working naturally — all the videos, shows, tours, etc. She has such an amazing team around her, too, especially her creative director, Matthew Williams.

Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspired from people around me: my friends, collaborators, designers and photographers. I’m so lucky I get to meet and play with all these amazing people! I also have a huge toy collection that I often source through for ideas, but most importantly I find that traveling and visiting new places is very inspiring.

When it comes to your personal style, what do you like to wear?
Well, I’m half-Japanese, half-Italian, so naturally it’s a mix of East meets West, high fashion meets streetwear. I tend to get all my basics from Uniqlo, and I mix vintage clothing with a bit of Margiela. I like to keep it casual and comfortable.

Any advice for the young hopefuls?
Think twice! It’s not as glamorous as you think it is.

© by T Magazine

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