Nicola Formichetti: Asia And Fantasia
It is 4 a.m. and Nicola Formichetti is having a jet-lagged morning run around the Shinjuku district of Tokyo—at the same time as being interviewed on the phone. “It is very Blade Runner here and I’m running,” he confirms, when asked why he is mysteriously panting. This is the normal sort of schedule the stylist faces these days. The day before, Formichetti had been filmed alongside the Japanese actress Kiko Mizuhara, the face of Uniqlo’s womenswear, for the brand’s latest TV commercial. It appears that Formichetti is now the face of the menswear in Japan, as well as being Uniqlo’s creative fashion director. “It will really mean a lot to my mum and my grandma,” he explains of this particular string to his bow. “In Japan everybody wears Uniqlo, from tiny babies to the elderly. It is really like nothing else and has a response like nothing else.”
Such is the place that Nicola Formichetti now occupies in the fashion industry. The half Italian, half Japanese stylist—although that is a very limiting description of what he does—could have almost been grown in a lab to be the first test-tube baby of “global fashion now.” He helms a major brand (Mugler), directs the fashion choices of a major star (Lady Gaga), and is the founder, alongside his brother, of his own brand, Nicopanda (left), whose e-commerce Web site is set to launch November 19. Yet now he is going back to his roots, by being the guest editor of a special issue of Dazed and Confused—the U.K. magazine where he made his name—called “Fantasia.” It is an issue to celebrate all things Asian—including Nicola himself.
“I really wanted to have that idea of a gang of people, the idea that a magazine was about a group of friends and what they are about. That really seems to be lacking in magazines at the moment,” he explains. “I have a soft spot for Asia, obviously, because I was born here. But the way people live and work here now is so different from how it was ten years ago. Now, a younger generation are all mixed together and living all over the place: Chinese people in Japan, Japanese people in Hong Kong and mainland China, Korean people everywhere…I wanted to do an issue for a European magazine that was a reflection of this new Asia, not just some shoot where there is a geisha thrown in.”
The cover stars reflect this. (Formichetti shot the covers with photographer Matt Irwin, who also shot Cara Delevingne for the cover of Style.com/Print.) One is Angelababy (left), who is a huge star in mainland China and has millions of followers. “She did the magazine because we had already met and liked each other. Really, she never has to do anything in the West, she is such a massive star!” The other is his current favorite Japanese Harajuku pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (pictured with Formichetti, above): “Fuck Gangnam Style, it is all about her!” Below, an exclusive behind-the-scenes video of the Kyary shoot by Cycy Sanders.