Nicola Formichetti On Gaga & That Runway Show

Photo: Fernando Leon/Getty Images.
When said out loud, "Fashion Week" has a double meaning — and for anyone who's ever been a part of all the action, feeling weak is not only par for the course, it's often the reason we love fashion to begin with. So, in honor of the moments of chaos, beauty, and excitement that made us feel weak, we present My Fashion Week-ness: a compilation of accounts from some of the industry's biggest players. They're spilling their most memorable stories from Fashion Weeks gone by, and the ones that keep them coming back for more.

During his time in the fashion industry, Diesel creative director Nicola Formichetti has worn many hats. He's played fashion editor, stylist, director — and, most recently, Refinery29 collaborator — all while helming his own line, Nicopanda. A multifaceted career would presumably give Formichetti a lot of colorful tales to tell, and indeed it has.

When we chatted with him ahead of his 29Rooms debut, we talked fashion (obviously), freedom from identity (a core value of his), and his work with Lady Gaga. Speaking of, remember her Born this Way phase? Formichetti had just taken the reigns at Mugler, and Gaga, his muse at the time, had just begun her column for V; it was an era Formichetti fondly refers to as "the Gaga thing," but it was a pairing that pushed both artists into the limelight. Now that we've set the scene, read along as he recounts a high-intensity "fuck it" moment outside of his first Mugler show, which the entire industry wanted in on.

"When I first did the Mugler show in Paris with Gaga, it was the first time that I ever did a big show. We had a very small venue. It was already crazy because we had the livestream going on inside and outside. I wanted to do it for people who couldn’t come to Paris; I wanted everyone to have a front row experience. All of that stuff was great, but then I forgot about the people that were actually in Paris who wanted to come to the show. Already, the venue was super packed, and I saw on Twitter that there were so many people that wanted to come into the venue — this was literally 20 minutes before the show started — and they weren’t letting people in anymore."
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"So, I went outside myself and dragged about 30 kids in past security. The [PR] company was like, 'Please don’t do this. We’re fully packed.' I was like, 'Fuck it, I don’t care.' I just went out. Still today, they message me thanking me. That was a beautiful moment.

"And that’s great, because fashion sometimes becomes such a crazy machine, but in fashion shows, it’s actually just [that] you’re there to present your collection in a very beautiful way. And it’s a moment we get to create that’s very powerful, so I’m happy that I gave that to some kids that couldn’t get into fashion shows."

29Rooms — Refinery29’s magical art and fashion funhouse – is back for its second year, kicking off during NYFW, from September 9 to 11. We’re bringing our commitment to women claiming their power to life, through the event’s theme, “Powered by People.” To celebrate this sense of possibility, we’ve curated content that embodies our theme and pushes you to do more — start the conversations you want to hear, make change. We built our dream world and want to inspire you to power your own. For more information on the 29Rooms event and our initiative, click here.

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