Jul 29, 2009
Jul 16, 2009
// INTERVIEW //
If there is one man whose name is on everyone’s lips right now it would have to be Nicola Formichetti. From his work as creative director of the always influential, Dazed and Confused to his innovative styling, Formichetti is one of fashion’s most engaging power players. Taking a break from his busy schedule, Nicola talks to Christopher Michael about changes within the industry and working with fashion’s best and brightest.
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Q. Japanese Mother, Italian Father…two very strong cultural influences to be born of. What traits do you carry today that you would put in the column of your Father/Italian side vs. the traits you may associate more with being the influences of your Mother?
Both cultures are a big part of my life and work. I am east meets west….Spaghetti sushi!! From my Dad’s Italian side I have picked up a love for tacky things but as well I love the glamour of it all and am a bit of a Romantic.. Due to my Mothers Japanese culture I have a huge collection of crazy toys and love for Japanese food.
Q. Just reading off your titles and credentials listed in the number of Publications where you are an editor or Creative director is quite exhausting, how is that you are able to consult for so many labels on top of these publications and then go on to style Celebrity?
I know, so crazy, right??!! I’m currently in Japan working with UNIQLO for few more days here, then going back to NYC to start working on the next issue of Vogue Hommes Japan…Thanks to my blackberry I am always up to date with everyone, everywhere, any time!! I have really great relationships with all of the magazines I work with, (Dazed & Confused, V Magazine, V Man, Another, Another Man and Vogue Hommes Japan) you can never be too busy for things!! I work hard and play hard….but traveling across so many time zones constantly could be tiring but its so much fun what I do.. I’m always so excited to visit new places! I recently started working closely with lady Gaga. My new fashion icon! My collaboration with her goes beyond the typical stylist/ celebrity relationship!
she is so into fashion that she needs to change so many times a day!! love it!!
Q. I was reading about your early days as a buyer in a retail store in London that stocked emerging young designers, was that a conscious choice over working for a store that carried more established brands? Or was the new designer aspect of the store simply a coincidental detail of where you ended up working at the time?
In my early 20s, I helped launch the store Pineal Eye in London. I came up with concept of selling merging young designers because there was nothing like that at the time, and it was what interested me most. We stocked one off things one couldn’t get anywhere else. It was mostly pieces designed by my friends and people around me. Through Pineal Eye I got the opportunity to meet such talented designers as Hedi Slimane, Raf Simons, Gareth Pugh and Kim Jones.
Q. When you were scouted by Dazed&Confused who approached you offering a position as an editor for the magazine, you had never assisted any other stylist or had any real previous experience is that right? I’m quite sure that it was your lack of experience or the fact that you were never really influenced or molded directly by someone already set in their ways, that may have been one of the most enticing aspects of your raw talent… what do you think the difference is between your perspective now as oppose to what it may have been if you had spent sometime assisting someone established prior to your own debut?
I was so lucky, I was approached by Katy England and Alistair Mackie to be part of Dazed, then we all started working together under Jefferson hack’s direction. It was so much fun! And it still is!! From the beginning they gave me complete freedom to decide what I was about, and what I believed in. I was truly able to do what I felt as there was never any fear of doing something wrong.
At the time I didn’t even know a stylist existed, much less that it could be a real job!!! I just did what I loved, which was showcasing things I know around me. It’s amazing to think that I haven’t changed that much in this….to this day I am still doing what I love and what I feel strong about!!
I have never assisted another stylist however sometimes I wish I had…When I started I didn’t know the technique of how to deal with other things like the politics of it all. When you do a shoot it’s a collaboration with lots of other people, there are certain steps you have to go through to make it all come together. It was a double edged sword not knowing this at first, because on one had it made things a lot harder for me but on the other hand, if I would have known I probably would have been a lot more scared to do new things and take risks.
Q. I was reading in a previous interview when you were answering the question of ‘what items are you saving up to buy’ , that you look forward to being able to purchase more art one day… what type of Art is it that mostly captures your eye when wandering through a gallery?
It’s just a little personal dream of mine to have very beautiful things in my surroundings.
Q. When I found myself looking at some of the more abstract pieces that you and Solve had done together it made me curious as to how you both conceived of the idea to shoot the images that way…essentially erasing the models right from the photo and replacing them with anything from a blue sky to a poke a dot pattern…
I’m so sorry about that! I am sure you at a model agency are not a big fan of those types of shoots, with the models face erased. With my work I am most interested in the final image, and if that is what has to happen then so be it. Though this is not the case in every project as I love to promote new faces and good models, so it all depends. Working with Solve, an outstanding image maker, always leads to something more surreal and exciting!
Q. This famous sketch book that you never leave the house without, what would one find while thumbing through the pages of that book? Words? Drawings? Pictures glued on to the pages within?
I just love having a brand new sketch book. I just like the book as an object. as soon as I mark up the first page I am ready for a new one. I have piles of empty sketch books lying around my flat with scribbles on the first page!!
Q. You’ve brought to the ‘scene’ a fresh perspective that comes from your own experience and genuine interest in various subject matter… if you had the ability to Influence the business today in any way you wanted..what is the greatest result you wish to achieve?
I like to give people something positive and fun, just pure love and if I can make money doing so then that’s great. But it is very important for me to give back to people, which is why I like working with young creative designers and new models. The more successful I become the more I can give back, that’s the way I see it.
James Lovelock, speaking to Vivienne Westwood for Dazed & Confused: "One of the most harmful analogies that has been around recently is the 'tipping point'. Because it seems to imply that if only we pull back at this point then all will be well. It won’t. It’s already changed and it is changing. You see, in the last few years, ice that is in the north polar regions… it’s all going and the whole lot will be gone in between five and twenty years. When it dies, the amount of extra heat absorbed from the sun during the Arctic summer will be equivalent to all of the heat from all of the CO2 we’ve added to the atmosphere. So, suddenly the heating doubles and that’s something we can’t stop at all. We can’t do a thing about it... and that’s only one of many what we call ‘positive feedbacks’ in the system where the earth is moving rapidly to its hot state. We’re not going to stop it. So, what we should be thinking about is not trying to stop it, but preparing for the new world that is to come. It’s not a bad world but it’s not fit for seven billion people. There’ll be lots of places, not only on this island but all of the Arctic places – places like Canada, Siberia and so on – and we’ve got to make wherever we are a civilized and a fit place. It’s an enormous challenge and I hope that we’ll succeed. History tells us we might, you see, humans have been on the earth for a million years now and there have been seven events like the one about to happen during that time... the last one happened only 14,000 years ago. And when they happen, there are massive deaths... that’s were the legends of the floods come from, because the sea-level rose 120 metres at the last one – that’s huge amount. It flooded an area equal to the size of Africa as a continent. So, there were massive deaths during that occasion and on one of those – geneticists tell us – only 2,000 people survived. We’ve all come from that 2,000. It’s amazing, really."
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HEAD PIECE - NASIR MAZHAR