60 Seconds With Nicola Formichetti

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nicolaJust last week, Japanese retail giant, Uniqlo opened their global flagship store, right here at 5th Avenue! We got even luckier as we managed to rub shoulders with the brand’s fashion director, Nicola Formichetti, who somehow also finds time to be the creative director of Thierry Mugler, fashion director of Vogue Hommes Japan, and Lady Gaga’s stylist. The fashion Superman took a hot min to chat with us—dishing on defying his parents, fun with Gagaloo, and his thoughts on fashion bloggers (he thinks there should be even more )

What inspired you to become a fashion designer?
“I wanted to become a fashion designer when I was super, super young. But my parents wanted me to become something different, so I studied architecture. I went to school for three days and left. I did not tell me parent though. Then, I started working at a boutique and from there, I met customers from magazines who eventually hired me. I didn't even know stylists existed. So I always tell everyone who wants to be in fashion, to start working in a boutique. You learn lots of aspects of merchandising and communications, which is a great way to get into the fashion industry.”

What is the greatest challenge you’ve faced in your career? “When I was starting, because I have never assisted anyone and I kind of like went in so [inexperienced], everything was a mistake. I had to come up with everything myself and I didn't know the tricks. Everything was a struggle but I loved it because you challenge yourself. By making mistakes, you learn more. I worked really hard and I don’t sleep. I do lots of meditation as it keeps me going.”

What is it like styling for Lady Gaga?
“It’s great! I was with her till this morning. We were shooting the ‘Marry the Night’ video for a few days and she is going to L.A. today. It is like having fun with a friend.”

How did you guys meet?
“We met on a shoot for V magazine about three years ago. I loved her and she loved me. That was how it all started.”

What do you think about fashion blogging now?
“I love it. I remembered when people started blogging and we begun seeing all these bloggers at fashion shows, everyone was 'Argh! Why are all these bloggers here', but I find it amazing. To me, bloggers are the new magazines. People are just scared. It’s such a great thing that now you can have your own ‘magazine’ with a click of a button.”

Do you think it is healthy for the industry?
“Of course! We should have more bloggers. It is so refreshing. I don’t like the idea of elitism. It’s great that you have all these ideas. People who love fashion should be allowed to express themselves. My message to Asia and Asian bloggers in general is to change the perception of copying celebrity looks and fashion trends. We should change that mentality. We can be inspired by celebrities but not take them too literally. Somehow in Asia, it is cool to just copy. I want to encourage younger people to be more individual. Japan was like that but now it is changing. People have started to do their own thing. That’s why Uniqlo is great because the brand does not tell you what to wear but inspires you to style your own looks. The clothes are not designed based on trends. They are classic and timeless.”

How do you describe your personal style?
“I don’t know. I don’t have time to think about it. For me, everyday is like Halloween. So I try to keep it basic but sometimes when I feel like going a little bit crazy, I’d do it.”

What are you wearing today?
“I am wearing Prada, UNIQLO, and Opening Ceremony. I made this panther ring in Bali, actually. My friend lives there.”

Photographed by Viona Wang