NICOLA FORMICHETTI INTERVIEW
Post New caught up with the infectious creative director-in-motion.
The hyper real kid who carved his own destiny is all grown up, although you wouldn't think it to see him bursting out of Dazed & Confused's newly released December '#Fantasia' issue, adorning two of the four covers surrounded by toy giraffes, pandas, flowers and pink plastic bears. Post New caught up with the infectious creative director-in-motion, aptly in transit from London to Paris, to talk about this special collector's issue that he has guest-edited, celebrating East Asia's new wave.
Mandi Lennard: This issue was something Jefferson Hack had wanted to do for some time. How did it come about?
Nicola Formichetti: I've been talking to Jefferson about doing something special with him. He even asked me to be on the cover, which felt very strange, as I'd worked there for some time as a young editor. He wanted to show the young generation that anything was possible. From being a young editor at Dazed to being featured on the cover. A great positive message. I said yes, but with conditions that I wasn't alone on the cover... that I could bring my muses of the moment with me.
ML: When did you start work on it?
NF: We started our research a year ago, but the actual shoots took place during August and September in Asia.
ML: So it's a celebration of Nicola Formichetti?
NF: No it's the celebration of new ideas and new creativity.
ML: Tell me a little about the theme of Asia and how you decided on the covers?
NF: As you know, I was born in Tokyo. Being part Japanese and part Italian, I was brought up in both Asia and Europe. Asia is really an exciting place at the moment, full of energy, and I wanted to show how amazing it is through the issue. For our Japan cover I collaborated with Japan's new pop sensation Kyari Pamyu Pamyu. For the China cover, I shot China's most famous actress, Angelababy. Both of them are unknown outside Asia, which is crazy considering how huge they both are.
ML: Who shot the covers?
NF: Matt Irwin, a great photographer who I used to collaborate during my Dazed era. His photography is direct, and full of energy.
ML: Who are the defining characters that were important to include?
NF: It depends on the project, but I like to work with a small group of people. It's important that we understand each other clearly. I tend to work with the same creative team - photographer, hair and make up, set designers and graphic designers, so for this issue, it was the same.
ML: What for you are the highlights of this issue?
NF: Obviously the cover stories are very special. I also did a big portfolio of cool people in Asia. These people are what defines Asia today.
ML: What were the biggest challenges?
NF: There were so many things I wanted to do, so my challenge was to squeeze it all into one issue! I hope Jefferson asks me to do another one, wink wink!
ML: How did you manage being in New York when the main team is based in London?
NF: I'm the master of working virtually! I tend to work like this even with my New York team. So no difference there.
ML: What were you listening to working on this issue? What was your soundtrack in putting it together?
NF: Kpop, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and a bit of Grimes.
ML: When did you first work with Dazed & Confused and what was your role?
NF: I started working at Dazed in 2000, when my role was Eye Spy Editor. I had a monthly column of one to two pages.
ML: Which other publications are you working with?
NF: I contribute to several magazines around the world. Mainly VMAN & V Magazine. I just closed Vogue Hommes Japan, that I directed for four years, which is very sad, but it was the right time to do this. I'm actually working on launching my own magazine very soon.
ML: So what are your formal roles/titles now?
NF: Creative Director Mugler, Creative Fashion Director Uniqlo, Fashion Director Lady Gaga
ML: When did you move to New York and how is life there compared to London?
NF: I moved to NYC 3 years ago. There are more business opportunities in NYC. I get to use my skills on a bigger scale and get paid properly!
ML: What do you miss most about London?
NF: The Street culture.
ML: What do you like best about living in New York?
ML: How do you manage your varying roles and projects?
NF: I go with a flow.
ML: Is jetlag a big issue and what tips can you offer?
NF: I would like to know myself!!
ML: You flew to London for the launch of the issue - how many hours were you in town?
NF: Only one day!! We had a great party. It really reminded me of old London. Great characters and music. Next day I went straight to Paris to work on Mugler.
ML: What keeps you sane?
NF: Friends and family
ML: You just got two little puppies! What breed are they and do you consider yourself a responsible 'parent'?
NF: Tank and Bambi!! The cutest Pomeranians!! I'm always so worried about them that I can't sleep!!
ML: Where will you be spending Christmas?
NF: I will be in Los Angeles with my partner's family.
Photos: Matt Irwin for Dazed & Confused, and a selection from Nicola Formichetti's Instagram account
@formichetti (twitter) @nicolaformichetti (Instagram)